Ted Lasso season 2 coaches

Coming out of the dark forest: The ‘Ted Lasso’ season 2 finale in conversation

Ted Lasso season 3 is nearly upon us, and in preparation for the upcoming season premiere, we’re revisiting the season 2 finale to reflect on where the show left off and how the core characters, across the span of the whole series, have gotten themselves to the place where we’ll next pick up with them.

It’s been 18 months since Ted Lasso shared its season 2 finale, an episode that was stressful and euphoric in turn, and while many fans, including our writers, have watched the whole series multiple times since October 2021, there are still new elements to discover and discuss.

In advance of Ted Lasso season 3 and our planned conversation review coverage of what is very possibly the show’s final outing, Subjectify writers Megan and Natalie are delving into all the details of the season 2 finale “Inverting the Pyramid of Success,” and along the way, reflecting on many of the moments across the show’s first two chapters that brought the characters to the point where we last left them, and how we’re feeling about the potential trajectories the show has in store for season 3.

‘Ted Lasso’ season 2, episode 12 review in conversation

Natalie: So it’s taken a hell of a lot longer for us to get to AFC Richmond’s new football season than it has for the fictional characters involved in it. We’ve been left in limbo for so long! We’ve spoken about this show every single day since it was last on, so I hope people are ready for the fact that there’s a year and a half’s worth of emotions here. How many times since this finale, in October 2021, do you think you’ve watched this episode?

Megan: Oh God, probably at least five. There was a period when any time a friend came to stay I made them sit down and watch the whole show with me — I’ve gotten at least four people that way, plus at least one rewatch just for myself. So yeah, let’s go with five at minimum.

Natalie: That sounds about right — and then I’ve referred back to certain scenes within it maybe…. 20… 25… 30…. 50 times. But we’ll get to that.

Megan: I’m not saying I’ve watched the jump-hugging scene on repeat, but I’m also not not saying that, you know?

Natalie: I said we’ll get to it! I’m not saying it was my phone background! There’s a lot of things I’m not saying!

Megan: No of course. So much to say and also not say.

Natalie: Okay, so before we start, I want to ask you something — do you think Ted Lasso has changed the way that you watch TV? If so, how?

Megan: Hmm. Good question. Yeah, I think so. I watch a lot of TV, like ridiculous amounts, but I’m very good at powering through normally and then when it’s done, it’s done. Something about this show has really gotten under my skin to the extent that I honestly spend so much time thinking about the characters, their motives, their growth — and in some cases, whatever the opposite of growth is in this case. But more than any other show I’ve watched, I really want to deep dive into the writing and the characters and the action.

Part of it is that Ted Lasso feels so intentional compared to some of the other things I watch, that you can see all the arcs and threads and how they might end up concluding in a way I really love and just makes me think more deeply about the story they’re telling. Part of it is that I really love how much of a brilliant blend of British and US TV shows and humour it is, and part of it is probably just Jamie Tartt.

Natalie: Obviously, I have been thinking too much and writing about television storytelling for over a decade, but this is certainly one of the best made shows I’ve ever covered, and like you said, the intentionality, the carefully constructed arcs that have been in place since day 1, the amount of detail that they use about a character which comes back a long time later — it’s something that contains almost the planning levels of a mystery within it. There are shows out there who have planned the beats long in advance and are feeding towards reveals and conclusions, but those shows are not usually bright, lovely comedies.

That’s one of the more British elements actually— British comedy TV is usually both well-planned and somewhat miserable, short seasons where an arc is truly constructed years in advance. Ted Lasso has that element to it. It’s one of the things that makes it feel the most British to me.

Megan: Yes I think that’s true! And it’s one of the elements that I’m glad they’ve carried over. I definitely think some people might see that intentionality as a fault, like the fact that there aren’t that many huge surprise plot twists in Ted Lasso where the writers and showrunners want to shock the viewer. But I honestly hate that approach. With good storytelling you should be able to see where the show is going, and what they’re setting up. If you introduce a twist from nowhere it just feels cheap to me. Obviously things have happened in Ted Lasso that I wasn’t expecting, but even when they did happen I would have a second of surprise and then be like “Oh. Of course, of course that’s what’s happening, they laid the groundwork for that way back in the pilot!”

Natalie: Good storytelling should feel inevitable, even if you didn’t see the pieces at the time. Ted Lasso really gets that, and they also have had a lot of trust and freedom from Apple TV+ to be allowed to do that. Sometimes creators have ideas and plans but they do not have assurance that they’ll get to make that whole story — network TV usually, or just streamers who don’t cut a multi season deal. Having the freedom to be like “This is a trilogy, we know the beginning, middle and end, and we don’t need to compromise and make each season self contained” is a big deal. It is rare. People don’t always get how rare it is to have the permission and money and freedom to do that. A lot of shows would be better if the makers had this freedom.

Megan: Yeah I can see that. And it makes me feel reassured that even if this is the final season, and we don’t get a fourth or whatever, however this next season ends it will feel good and satisfactory. Even if I might want another three, four, ten seasons.

Natalie: Here’s the thing. I would be really happy for more seasons even if they weren’t as good. Is that terrible? People are always like, “Oh no, things should end before they get ruined.” Nah. These characters have enough inner life that if, after Ted Lasso season 3, the show continued — likely without Ted himself — I would be totally fine watching 10 more seasons of a character driven show about the other leads, that didn’t have quite as huge stories. They’ve established strong enough relationships, that if they could keep the character voices right, that would be miles better than tons of other shows.

Megan: Thank you! Honestly I’m the same. I can see so many potential spin offs, and character arcs that could be so rich and entertaining that I do think more seasons after this would still be top notch. People always point to other shows that they think carried on for too long, especially after an original writer left, but even with those, I often disagree. But for Ted Lasso especially, I do think it would hold up for a second era.

Natalie: Even if it was an era less about profound change, and more about what happens after.

Megan: Yes. Honestly, I would love a few seasons that were a bit more driven by the football side of things, and focused more on some of the players we see less of. Well, that’s probably a down the line conversation too let’s be honest, because there are so many rich football plot arcs that I would love to watch unfold.

Natalie: These three seasons are about an extreme level of change, and above all, the impact of trauma. Each person facing a big turning point that involves their biggest trauma and insecurities. When Ted Lasso season 3 ends, those stories will all land, one way or another. Each person will be on the path they need to be on. I’d be okay with more where things are a bit settled and they get down to business of the new era. There would always be stories to tell. But getting into season 3… The Ted Lasso season 2 finale is meant to be the show coming out of the dark forest and getting back on that path towards the light.

The end of season 2, in a lot of ways, is quite satisfying. If they’d taken out a few hanging threads, it’s almost a place where if Ted Lasso was cancelled, you can imagine the future as a positive in a way season 1 didn’t have. Not so much the Nate element, though he could be left to foreshadow that darkness in limbo forever. But there’s some closure in the season 2 finale. Would you have coped if it ended there? Or maybe… if they’d chosen to leave more open threads, like Fleabag, as a two-parter… are there any things where you’d be like, “Okay, this can be the series finale IF we cut that one part.”

Related: ‘Ted Lasso’ season 2 proves that predictable storytelling is more rewarding than shock

Megan: I would have coped in the sense that I know the club is back up into the Premier League, and a lot of the characters are in good and exciting places with a lot of potential — Sam with his new restaurant, Keeley with her new job. The one element that would leave me feeling a bit anxious is the way it leaves Roy and Keeley at the end of the season, that is something left a little shaky for me. But generally there is a decent sense of completeness. The one element other than Nate I mean, as you’ve said he is obviously a whole separate thing.

Natalie: For the huge core issue of Ted and his trauma about his dad and his son, it would have been a state of limbo there — when will he go home? But for the British characters, it really depends whose lens you veer most closely to. For the characters I tend to spend the most time thinking about — Roy, Keeley, Jamie, Rebecca, Sam and Trent — I probably would be pretty good with imagining a good “forever” for them. Ted too, if it weren’t for the kid part.

Megan: Yeah that’s fair and I think I agree. Those are the characters I spend the most thinking about too, and the episode ends in a place where I could very easily imagine a happy future for them with how season 2 ends.

Natalie: But luckily, this is a moot point and Ted Lasso season 3 is very soon, so let’s go over where everything left off. It’s been promised that there is plenty of stuff from season 2 and even season 1 that will crop up again later, and we know what we know from the trailer, obviously, so we’ll touch on that at points, but in terms of the season 2 finale, and Richmond winning promotion back to the Premier League, what really struck me this time is the “what if” element. I am talking about Ted not talking to Nate, not telling him what he knows or any kind of confrontation.

Because that is where we pick up — Ted, the morning after the article comes out and Trent’s message that Nate was indeed the source. Watching him move through this day with that knowledge about Nate hanging over him, amidst everything else… it’s a choice Ted makes that is possibly not the right one.

Megan: The one thing that always strikes me about this opening scene with Ted, when thinking about what’s in store for him and his relationships down the line is his reaction to the texts. He looks at Rebecca’s on the notifications screen, goes in to listen to Sharon’s voice message — and I do like their relationship so I’m pleased that even after she leaves Richmond they’re still talking — and then Michelle is the only person we actually see him reply to and engage with. She’s still, it seems, the person he most wants to talk to in a difficult moment. Though her reply to his knock knock joke is also interesting. Saying “You’re obviously fine” when he obviously wouldn’t be does make me wonder how good she ever was at seeing past his optimistic front.

Natalie: That’s a good point, and look. Things regarding Michelle are tough. There’s a lot of big questions to ask here. How much did she know about his mental health before? This is the father of her son, surely she wants to know more about his stability, and how long he’s had issues that she wasn’t aware of? Is it that for her, she was bothered by the symptoms caused by those issues — the ruthless optimism and avoidance and stuff — but never delved into that trauma? We have to assume she knows about Ted’s dad, right? If she doesn’t know… that’s a new level of fucked up for Ted’s brain. I always assumed Michelle and Beard would be in the know.

Megan: Oh God. In my head I always assumed she was around in his life in some way when it happened. Like, that they knew each other in high school, so yeah, I always assumed her and Beard knew. For me with Ted it is always very clear when he’s being genuinely moving and compassionate— his speech about the neighbour’s dog that he took in, when he’s talking to the team in this episode about his mental health which we will get to — versus when he is being over the top optimistic as a front. His rom-communism dark forest speech actually feels a bit like that to me. So you would really hope that Michelle, after knowing him all these years, would also be able to see through that. But if Ted is unwilling to actually address it head on and talk about it, that in and of itself would be exhausting for Michelle, she could only do so much there.

Natalie: We may find out more on this during Ted Lasso season 3, even just in terms of Michelle wanting to be a good co-parent for Henry. I am not at all saying that Ted is a risk to Henry, but if your kid’s dad has depression or anxiety, you’d want to have a plan for that. A mentally ill parent is just something you’d want to be careful and supportive about. From her perspective, I’d want to know all the details if I saw an article about his mental health being leaked.

Megan: Yeah definitely, we do see so little of her, and everything is from Ted’s point of view so that it’s really impossible to know what she was thinking, what she was there for and the steps she took to try and help before she couldn’t do it anymore.

Natalie: But you know, she says, “You’re obviously fine” and like… No, this is a very shitty situation, but he does seem okay in a way that isn’t fake. Like he’s not… carrying this any more. He’s amazingly accepting in a way I don’t think is fake, and is maybe even unwise, nonetheless, he’s not responding as badly to this as he has to many other things. Maybe at some point it’s like well, whatcha gonna do?

Megan: I was thinking that too. Even as he’s walking through Richmond to meet Beard, he obviously doesn’t love the attention, but he seems okay with it and accepting of it. He probably does feel an element of relief that he’s not carrying it any more. In fact the most upset he does seem is at the implication that Michelle has been out late. And of course there is probably an element of worry over how to handle the Nate side of things, but the fact that people actually know doesn’t seem to be what’s bothering him most right now.

Natalie: The text thing with Michelle is a very very good example of how much weight Ted Lasso can pack into just, like, a pause. It would be around 2am for her, or something, and the fact of the matter is, she’s probably still his automatic go-to person and doesn’t feel a lot of boundaries with her.

Megan: Yes, that isn’t something that switches off after however many years of marriage, especially when you have a kid together.

Natalie: He asks this and just the pause tells you a lot — that she doesn’t like that he’s asked it. There is a strong chance she is dating and he’s prying, but more so it’s just the “You don’t get to know my life anymore.” That’s a firm boundary, even maybe a harsh one, some people are happier being more open, but as you said we do not know her side. There’s a whole other story where she is the hero who has been totally dragged under by this difficult man. And she wants to shake off his impact.

Megan: And to his credit he doesn’t push, you see him realise on his face that he’s overstepped, and he apologises immediately. Maybe that’ll be season 4. Michelle Lasso.

Natalie: For a lot of people, that wouldn’t even be an overstep, but for someone you had “access” to for so long, even a small boundary feels like a slap. And Ted does NOT do well with ANY boundaries. See also: Sharon. It’s a challenge for him.

Megan: Yes and that’s actually one of the reasons I love his relationship with Sharon. She is so firm with those boundaries right from the start, and she does soften them as she starts to get to know Ted, but she holds firm in a way not a lot of people can or will, and I really respect her for that. And also think Ted needs people like that in his life.

Natalie: We have to consider that, regarding Michelle, she does say, hope you’re okay — she probably would have accepted his call, or a real message about how he felt, in this circumstance. He chose to deflect her inquiry with the joke.

Megan: Yes that’s true, and is in line with his usual avoidance of actually discussing how he’s feeling.

Natalie: So that’s even messier, but Sharon’s support is easier for him to accept. “The truth will set you free, but first it’ll piss you off.” Ted has got to be very angry on some level, especially with all the commentary. He really doesn’t show it for a second, but he must feel so horrible about Nate and about all the noise.

Megan: It’s the last thing he needs right now with the upcoming match.

Natalie: I wanted to ask — the Soccer Saturday commentary. Obviously this is a real show with real hosts plus George, who is the requisite dissenter. The subject they’re talking about, the reveal of Ted’s panic attack, the back and forth — be fair, and George being like “he’s a big girls blouse…” How realistic do you think this handling is for the British media? The tabloid headlines seem about right. How about the pundits?

Megan: Firstly, Jeff’s plaintive “I miss Roy” is just excellent delivery, and if that man ever wants to stop being a pundit and move into acting full time I support it. Secondly, and honestly, I actually do think the handling by the media in the show is perhaps a bit over the top with the headlines. There are some areas that they are trying to get better at in their reporting, and mental health is one of them, but I think the way George speaks is very realistic for a certain era and mindset of football manager.

There was a clip I saw just a few days ago from a pundit panel at the start of a match, and it showed the players hugging their opposition in the tunnel before kick off and Roy Keane went off on a rant about how they shouldn’t be hugging each other, they were about to go to war. The rest of the pundits were laughing at him and calling him out, but George’s outlook and mindset 100% exists among real life pundits and managers and former footballers, but thankfully people like Jeff and Chris Kamara in real life do call those people out on air.

Natalie: You’d definitely want to assume that if they’re willing to take that stance on TV in fiction, they’d also take it in real life! George exhausts me though. I wish Roy could be a part time pundit on the days he doesn’t have matches. Bit unethical but someone needs to smack that man down. No, actually, I don’t. I do, but I don’t. Roy’s issue with punditry ultimately is the element judgement. He has an ethical issue with negative commentary. So it would be hard to write that off. But still.

Megan: Well you do have players that will be pundits on their off days — Kyle Walker from Manchester City did that midweek for an FA Cup match recently. So it’s not technically impossible, but Roy wouldn’t do it for the reasons you’ve said. Maybe if he could come on and play the role of giving negative commentary on George’s punditry, rather than on the match and the players. He’d do that in a flash.

Natalie: One of the many ways in which Roy Kent is NOT Roy Keane.

Megan: Correct.

Natalie: Our Roy is also a pretty touchy-feely guy. Despite appearances. Not sure how he’d feel about hugging the opposition, but I’m sure he wouldn’t be as psychotic as Keane.

Megan: He’s played more recently than Keane. It’s way more common these days so I think Roy would be okay with a little pre-match cuddling.

Natalie: He didn’t scold Jamie for hugging O’Gara, his friend from Man City, in the tunnel before Wembley. Is that enough proof?

Megan: I think we can say yes.

Natalie: Cool, I’m good with that. Anyway, any time I have to hear George’s opinion is a bad time, but yes — I think it’s an accurate angle for a certain era, and honestly an attitude that it’s clear the FA on the whole doesn’t condone. Football is in a flux era right now, where the organisations, the clubs, the league, and many players, and far more ethical and forward thinking than the old school fan base. It’s a time when a lot of “traditional” football attitudes are being phased out. For you and me, that’s a plus. For George, not so much.

Megan: No, he is a very accurate portrayal of that era of Football Man, and I cannot wait for him and his kind to vanish.

Natalie: Like, these people want to be allowed to say slurs so badly! It’s not that hard to just not say a slur!

Megan: Football twitter is the bane of my life. If it’s not using slurs, it’s being abusive to players who have a bad match, or enabling players who have behaved immorally off the pitch. So yeah, George is a very realistic character, but one that I hate to see, unless it’s combined with Roy slapping him down.

Natalie: That’s a good segue to point out that although Ted Lasso deals a lot with the idea of toxic masculinity and how Richmond is a bit of a magical safe space where boys are much nicer and don’t rape people and stuff, I think that any club would support Ted the way Rebecca does here, at least on paper. The party line from any club would be support here.

Megan: Yeah, I do think the clubs and teams themselves these days in general would be supportive of their manager going through this, though Rebecca and Ted’s relationship generally is probably a bit different from most Managers and Owners in the Premier League. I can’t see Antonio Conte baking Dan Levy biscuits daily.

Natalie: Listen. Maybe if Jürgen started baking, Liverpool could get some cash.

Megan: Haha. Enough to buy Jude. There’s a thought.

Natalie: Yeah, I think that maybe this is how they get Jude. Anyway, the point is, Richmond as an entity would back Ted. There’s a lot going on for him this final day of training, the paparazzi, the random Richmond locals… Beard’s form of support is one of those unspoken moments where it’s just so clear that these two have a level of understanding that is psychic. Beard denies knowing, but the show doesn’t bother to do a song and dance about “Oh, actually he does.” I mean, we know he does, but he and Beard don’t discuss this until much later.

When Ted does speak to Rebecca, he makes it clear that he is okay and also that he does not want her to chase the source. Obviously we know he knows it’s Nate, and obviously we know how this all plays out, but what do you think was going on for Ted here? Like, not so much “why would he protect Nate,” that’s kind of hard to put into words. But more like… I get that he didn’t want Rebecca’s wrath levels of finding and firing Nate, dragging him over the coals, but what do you think, at this point, Ted was expecting to do, or for Nate to do? What’s his angle here?

Megan: Ted believes in giving people second chances, he believes in being curious not judgemental, and he also knows exactly how Rebecca can be when she goes scorched earth. So I always saw it as an element of wanting to protect Nate from that, an element of hoping Nate will own up and talk to him so they can work it out together, and honestly also? I think he knows that he’s been distracted at times this season because of his mental health, so part of this could be a bit of self flagellation — maybe he thinks this is his fault for keeping it a secret, for obviously missing that Nate was hurting, and that being on him.

Natalie: Yeah, that level of “be curious,” maybe he isn’t sure why Nate did this, not sure at all of his motive. Given that Trent’s article was nice — honest, but kind — Ted could imagine any number of reasons Nate spoke. Not all of them negative. Ted is also happy to protect Trent, which I think is absolutely justified — Trent did break ethics to warn Ted and all — but with Nate he seems to just be wanting him to come talk to him about it, and is ready to hear him out. He gives him a bunch of openings during the day, too. He doesn’t want Nate to be the villain here, even though he did the thing. Later, we find out he’s shocked by Nate’s motive, so he was clearly expecting a less heinous angle. But for now, I guess he wants to just hear it from Nate. He was still upset enough to fuck up Rebecca’s biscuits though.

Related: James Lance of ‘Ted Lasso’ has seen the backlash from journalists, and says Trent Crimm was ‘happy to pull the pin’ on his career

Megan: Yeah I really think it’s just that. He’s upset and confused, but he mostly likes to see the good in people, and he clearly likes Nate so much, so he really just wants him to come to him and talk. And if anyone else got involved — Rebecca, Beard – it would change the dynamic of that conversation, and how Nate approaches it, and that probably isn’t what Ted would want.

Natalie: It would also possibly be very disruptive to kick off a big drama today, the last day of training before Brentford.

Megan: Oh yeah, definitely.

Natalie: If they don’t win, Higgins will die.

Megan: And we don’t want that. That sounds sarcastic. To be clear, I really don’t want that.

Natalie: I mean he is being a little melodramatic. This wasn’t their final shot, but it would be a much less stressful experience than going to the playoffs. That’s a point too — if they lost against Brentford, they’d have like, four more weeks of  the season. Blowing things up with Nate when they aren’t sure it’s the final day of work for the year is also risky. What if they did and then it’s like “Okay… we need your help with the playoffs!”

Megan: That’s a really good point. If they’d had a huge explosion and then Nate had to either stick around for the last few weeks prepping for the playoffs, or he left, leaving them with no adjustment period to get used to not having him on the coaching team, that would have been very difficult. All in all, whatever Ted’s angle, I think it was probably the right choice, but really rough on him to just go through that day knowing Nate did it and not knowing why.

Natalie: It’s a high-pressure day for all the main characters really. Ted, Nate, Jamie, Roy, Keeley, Rebecca — who is very edgy about whatever decision Sam is going to make. Remember, while this was happening to Ted, she was lurking outside Sam’s house. At least she’s got Heather to comfort her.

Megan: Oh Heather, that sneaky salty bitch.

Natalie: Nate is also sneaky and salty. Ironic… or perhaps not.

Megan: We have discussed how intentional Ted Lasso is.

Natalie: But that is exactly how we could describe him. A Melrose Place baddie. And as the day gets started for Richmond, the Melrose Place baddie comes looking for Roy — after Jamie also comes looking for him, which we will circle back to. Now, I know you’ve got a lot to say about how Nate acts towards Roy about kissing Keeley, and we will get to that.

Megan: Yes, yes I do.

Natalie: And that isn’t quite the point of this scene, the point is the passive confrontation between Beard and Nate, but, what do you think was going on here for Nate when he was looking for Roy? Was he looking for him to tell him? Or to gauge whether he knows? Is he trying to avoid him, or take the issue to him?

Megan: I always read that as, in that moment, Nate is trying to gauge whether he knows and whether he should avoid him or not. I think him telling Roy only happens because of the circumstances in that later scene which we’ll get to, so in that particular moment I always saw this scene as Jamie is hunting Roy out to confess, and Nate is asking after him because he wants to know where Roy is so he can avoid him.

Natalie: That makes perfect sense as a narrative juxtaposition, but I do think Nate is weirdly eager to spill, later. We’ll get to it. He’s so confusing during this episode, even knowing he’s on a downhill slope. This is one of my favourite Beard moments though.

Megan: Yes Nate’s behaviour in this episode really is all over the shop. Beard on the other hand is as consistently brilliant as ever. This episode in general is such a good one for him. Do you think Nate knows Beard knows when they have their exchange? He has to, right?!

Natalie: I don’t know. I want to say he’s not tuned in enough, because his perception of absolutely everything is whacked out. But he’s also kind of paranoid at the moment so may expect the worst, expect he’s being targeted.

Megan: He’s definitely thrown by Beard’s obvious hostility, and very nervous, but maybe that’s because of his general mood and not because he thinks he’s caught.

Natalie: Nate has that dual flaw of a massive superiority complex and a massive inferiority complex, so I can see part of him thinking that he’s absolutely brilliant and of course no one would suspect him. But then he sees Beard and is like “Oh, shit.” But like, who else was it gonna be? Higgins? Roy?

Megan: They would never.

Natalie: Someone bugging the coaching office?

Megan: The British press do have precedent for dodgy behaviour like that, but I don’t think Richmond would be their target.

Natalie: Again, Nate just has an extremely warped perception about everything — how he’s seen, what is going on… I also don’t know exactly what he was trying to achieve here, unless he’s already being well-groomed by Rupert, if since the funeral, Nate has been expecting to move over to Rupert’s side and has been doing this stuff at his orders. But I don’t know. We won’t know until Ted Lasso season 3 how exactly that hiring happened — all we know is that Rupert planted some seeds, and by the summer Nate was managing West Ham. Maybe Nate was taking this time to decide whether or not to leave, and then… decided.

Megan: Yes, the timing is interesting. Because assuming he leaked it not long after the Keeley changing room incident, maybe he felt small or upset about that and wanted to lash out and hurt someone else, or maybe as you say Rupert had a hand in this if they’d been speaking since the funeral. I would both love to know more about what was going through his head in these episodes, but I also think that would be a really unpleasant place to be.

Natalie: Yeah. There’s a lot to break down when we get to the part where he confronts Ted, almost a line by line commentary on what the fuck he even said, because it is an incredibly honest performance that is also full of shit. He means it so much, and it is so delusional. His entire deal is all about perception. But Ted gives him an opening to come forward earlier in the episode, in his own way, when he speaks to the lads at training about the article. This whole scene is weighted towards a few characters’ reactions, how what Ted is saying resonates with them for their current issues. Ted doesn’t know anything about how what he’s saying impacts Jamie, for example. He may have a few clues about what Sam might take from it. But it’s really FOR Nate.

Megan: Yes, at this stage Ted has no idea what Jamie has been up to recently, but Sam shows his emotions very clearly when Ted talks about leaving his family and taking a job halfway around the world so Ted will probably be aware it’ll resonate with Sam too. Unfortunately, I think anything Nate did take from Ted’s speech might have been undone by Colin threatening to take a sock full of soap to his stomach and chest immediately afterwards.

Natalie: It has to be said that this is one of the funniest fucking moments of the season from start to finish. From the distraction from Ted’s point about cartoons— “My refrigerator has a television!” — to the show’s refusal to credit JK Rowling for the choices/abilities quote, to “Follow the money!”

Megan: To the fucking helicopter at the end.

Natalie: My boy asking the real questions.

Megan: It’s such a good combination of a genuinely moving and compassionate speech from Ted, some brilliant face acting from the likes of Toheeb Jimoh, Phil Dunster and Nick Mohammad, and then some ridiculous laugh-out-loud moments. Horticulture, behbey!

Natalie: God, it’s funny. That’s one of my most-quoted ones.

Megan: Beard is a man of very few words, but every single one is gold.

Natalie: Very importantly, at the end of the scene when Ted talks about the training plan, he is like, “We’ll focus on Nate the Great’s false nine.” In the previous episode, there was that absolutely bananas scene where Nate suggests it and Ted is like “Cool!” Then Nate tries to get Beard and Roy to commiserate with him about Ted stealing credit. They’re both just like “What….. the fuck?” Roy’s approach being like, “Yeah, we are assistants. The manager is the one who gets the credit. That is normal,” and Beard being like…. “Socialist trees.” But here, we see Ted, knowing what he knows about Nate, being sure to credit him and back his idea. The implication being he will happily credit him to the press too. That’s what Nate wanted, but he does not want it any more!

Megan: Yes! And I’ll have more to say on this later probably, but that is one of my biggest issues with Nate’s actions towards Ted. They just seem to show a fundamental lack of awareness of basic job hierarchy. The fact is, Ted gives Nate credit all the time, but at the end of the day he is the manager. He is the person people go to for quotes and give credit to when things go well. And Roy and Beard get it and are so confused that Nate doesn’t. And despite all that even as early as season 1, episode 3, Ted tells Trent a tactic was Nate’s idea. He doesn’t hold back on the credit where other managers would.

Natalie: Nate wanted credit for the false nine, and now that he’s got it, he pivots and shifts the goalposts. At this point he just thinks everyone is out to get him.

Megan: And it’s interesting because he only wants credit when things are going well. It’ll be fascinating to see how he handles doing press after West Ham’s first loss. Because yes, when you’re the boss, you get the praise when things go well, but you also get the criticism when things don’t, and if he tries to blame it on the players in the press it really won’t go down well.

Natalie: God, can you imagine? They’ll sometimes be like, “Our defense was so and so.” But the way Nate likes to be specifically horrible…

Megan: Yes, they’ll be blunt when players have made mistakes, but they will always shoulder at least part of the responsibility themselves. I can’t see Nate being very good at doing that.

Natalie: What about after training ends, when Beard and Ted go to the pub…. Do you think what ultimately happens at the match later is because Ted didn’t take Beard’s advice to confront Nate? They share this understanding that yes, they both know Nate did it. But Ted wants to let Nate come to him about it in his own time. It’s his philosophy for cats, babies and apologies. Having just tamed several feral kittens I can say that his philosophy is wrong on that count.

Megan: Those kittens were pure angels, they just needed a little effort.

Natalie: Like Jamie. Ted didn’t do so well at that feral kitten taming either, but that’s a story for later.

Megan: It’s interesting, right? Because ultimately Ted does confront Nate. He does go to him and ask him what he’s done wrong. But the problem is he does it after an episode of Nate huffing about and making comments under his breath, and he does it right in the middle of the match when tensions are really high and Nate is freaking out at the thought of being blamed for Richmond not being automatically promoted. I think if Ted had gone to Nate before the match, before all that extra pressure, it’s possible the air would have been cleared earlier.

Natalie: Yeah, it may have depended on how set Nate’s mind was. But I think that with what happens, the show is maybe saying Ted made the wrong call. That being said! How Nate is acting is not Ted’s fault at all. He is not actually culpable.

Megan: No, exactly! Nate’s behaviour is just bang out of order in this entire episode, so it isn’t Ted’s fault. But it does show an example of where sometimes Ted’s approach to handling people doesn’t always work.

Natalie: I guess my question is like… Was Nate’s snap a bad moment that could have been diverted, or something already well set? Would anything Ted have done “worked?”

Megan: Honestly, at this point, I don’t think so.

Natalie: But Beard’s angle here is that doing this will help Ted not be so wound up. And that’s perfectly true. Ted should get to express his anger or whatever. Ted has the right to be like “What the hell, man? You hurt me!”

Megan: Yes, I really agree. But maybe Ted will need a few more sessions with Sharon before he can start being open about his anger. I don’t think he’s quite there yet.

Natalie: No, and he doesn’t express anything like that to Nate later. The article leaking does not even come up in their confrontation. Circling back to the day everyone ELSE was having while Ted was brewing on this, we know that Rebecca is worried about Sam leaving for Casablanca. She can’t ask him to stay and she can’t promise they’ll get back together, but she doesn’t want him to go and she’s anxiously asking Higgins to get intel on where his head is at. Well, we don’t know if Hig Newton reported this bit — not sure how packages arrive at the clubhouse for the players — but after his date with Edwin, Sam gets a follow-up courting gift when he arrives at training for the day. The ugliest effing football shirt I have ever seen.

Megan: Nat, it is so bad. Rewatching this, I cannot get over how ugly it is. And I support Spurs, a team with some of the worst kit decisions ever.

Natalie: But it is a 10. Which, since posting my trailer breakdown article, I have learnt that barely anyone who watches this show knows the meaning of.

Megan: Yes, that has become very apparent! I actually do like that Ted Lasso doesn’t explain every small football detail though. Some of it is there as a little authentic Easter egg to the people who know. But it makes me wonder how many moments there are that I accepted as just good football knowledge that others maybe didn’t pick up on.

Natalie: For those who don’t know and who didn’t read my breakdown, allow me to quote myself:

“The 10 is generally awarded to a team’s main creative playmaker, usually a star attacking midfielder. It’s an influential position, a facilitator, and maybe the most respected number in football history. Maradona, Pele, Ronaldinho, Zidane and Messi all wore the 10, and its prestige is why Edwin Akufo offering it to Sam on a Raja Casablanca shirt in the season 2 finale, and mentioning he took the liberty of picking Sam’s number, is such a big deal. It’s a gesture that tells Sam that he is being courted as the Casablanca team’s most important player, a huge measure of his value.”

The face he makes is not about how beautiful that shirt is. It’s fucking awful.

Related: A ‘Ted Lasso’ season 3 trailer breakdown so exhaustive it may actually be unhinged

Megan: Just hideous.

Natalie: It’s about the fact he’s being offered the 10. Something else to sway him.

Megan: I really do love how Sam has grown in confidence and talent since the pilot, and I think he is someone who could be a brilliant Number 10, regardless of the outcome of that arc and what Ted Lasso season 3 holds.

Natalie: And of course he has plenty to reflect on when Ted is talking, as you said, about making that choice to leave his family and take a job far away. This goes both ways — leaving Nigeria to go to England, and then leaving his Richmond family to go to Casablanca.

Megan: Yes exactly! Because of course, the surface read is that he thinks leaving Nigeria was the mistake and he should go closer to home, but at that moment I think he’s having the realisation that Richmond is home right now.

Natalie: That idea is floated further when we see Sam talking to his dad on the phone after training. He’s walking around Richmond discussing the offer and he says he’ll have to give Edwin an answer after the match on Sunday. We know Sam’s dad is mostly pretty great. He was a bit quick to condemn Sam for the Dubai Air thing, like Sam did it knowingly or something. But compared to most dads on Ted Lasso, he’s the best.

Megan: The bar is quite low for dads on this show, it’s true. With Sam and his dad, while he was quick to condemn, the show makes it very clear that he and Sam do have a very close, good relationship, so I don’t hold that outburst against him.

Natalie: The point is, he isn’t pressuring Sam to come back closer to home. I don’t think he’s pushing one way or the other.

Megan: No, he is very comfortable trusting that Sam is an adult, who will make the decision that is best for him in this moment.

Natalie: He’s maybe not giving him quite enough opinions! “Daddy, with all due respect, isn’t this decision too important to be left to the universe?” Truly takes a special actor to deliver that authentically.

Megan: Yes, I mean if I was Sam in that moment, I might want someone to tell me what to do! But I think it was the right choice to let him make up his own mind. Or rather… Let the universe make it for him. Okay, fine, maybe Daddy Ola was copping out a little bit.

Natalie: Hey, the universe told him to buy bitcoin in 2009.

Megan: I’d like to know how the universe told him that exactly.

Natalie: That is a great point. If he shows up in Ted Lasso season 3, we can ask him. Sidenote: does this mean Sam’s family is a bit wealthy compared to, well, a lot of British footballers? Obviously in the UK, for British kids this is a working class game. Jamie coming from a council estate is not an unusual story. The block of flats Roy points at, his childhood home? In real life in London that’d also be a council estate so that implication is there. Football’s not the game rich kids play.

Megan: That’s an interesting question actually! Yes it might do, depending on exactly how much the universe got him to invest in bitcoin.

Natalie: But Sam might have come from a bit more privilege in his home country.

Megan: I hadn’t ever considered that, but yes, that is quite plausible.

Natalie: It does seem to fit his vibe.

Megan: I agree. I look forward to learning about Sam’s upbringing and bitcoin wealth more in season 3.

Natalie: He seems to have had a comfortable life, and doesn’t carry the weight of childhood poverty the way a lot of guys in the game do. I’ll admit I don’t know how common it is for foreign players, whether the only people in South America or Africa who get a chance to train professionally are wealthier ones. I just know in the UK, it’s usually the opposite.

Megan: I’ll be honest I have no idea either. I’m not sure it’s something we’ll learn via Ted Lasso, but I feel like it might be the topic of some bedtime reading from me tonight to learn more about.

Natalie: Given that we know, from the season 3 trailer that his restaurant is called Ola’s — after his father. Do you think his dad will come to visit for the official opening?

Megan: I would really like that! It would be great to put a face to the voice on the phone. I feel like Ola would like to meet Ted too, given Sam’s comments in the second episode of season 2.

Natalie: It’s very possible. But at the beginning of the scene, Sam says he thinks he’s made a decision, which I think mean’s he’s leaning to go… but he promises to look out for signs, which include watching some young guys having a kickabout in the park wearing his shirt all taped up like the protest. Choosing to imitate him in his passions. That’s a pretty good sign. Imagine if they’d looked over and seen him.

Megan: Utter chaos. Which leads me to a London geographical question, my favourite kind.

Natalie: What is Sam doing walking around there when he lives in Battersea?

Megan: You know me so well. Yes. We know from “Man City” that Sam lives in Battersea. Why is he walking across Richmond Green? A rare day of getting public transport to work? A lunchtime stroll in the green?

Natalie: I can imagine he just went for a walk after training before going back to his car and driving home.

Megan: Look, that is the simplest option. He wanted to go for a walk and clear his head then have a phone call with his dad before getting in his car. Fine. I’ll allow it.

Natalie: I know that Ted Lasso loves to make everything happen in a 200 foot radius of Richmond Green. And I get that they owe the community a lot. But I would like season 3 to show these characters out and about elsewhere in London. I did hear they filmed in Notting Hill and Shoreditch and some other places, so maybe I’ll get my wish.

Megan: I’d love that. Maybe Ola’s (the restaurant, not the daddy) is located elsewhere.

Natalie: I know exactly where it is in real life, it’s in South Kensington. But I don’t know if it’ll be set there. I recognized the paved plaza behind Sam when he bought it. There aren’t many places like that plaza in London and I was pretty sure I knew where it was, and I Google Mapped and it was correct.

Megan: That’s very on brand for you. I guess we’ll have to wait and see where Ted Lasso ends up setting it.

Natalie: It makes sense, location wise, given Edwin took him to the Natural History Museum. Because that restaurant was the same “fake” restaurant that Edwin took him to. Sam went and bought it for real. It’s the same place.

Megan: Okay, now you’ve said, that is so obvious to me, but I had not picked up on that at all! But that is great!

Natalie: Given the response from a lot of fans when footballers try to talk about social issues, what do you think it meant to Sam, or what do you think it means in general, to see young adults backing his stance and his beliefs? Obviously we aren’t recapping the whole of season 2 here, but with Richmond’s protest in “Do The Right-est Thing,” we never saw the dark side of the public response, which in real life would have been a LOT of “shut up and dribble.”

Megan: Honestly, the fact that fans can be pretty awful when it comes to football trying to make a difference off the pitch probably means this meant a lot to Sam. The fact that Richmond lost that match would likely have resulted in a lot of abuse from Richmond fans and while the club went above and beyond in supporting Sam, a subset of the fanbase certainly wouldn’t have. So to see young adults playing football, wearing his shirt, emulating his protest, would feel really powerful and impactful. Ironically, I saw a comment online recently where a Ted Lasso fan said they didn’t like the Dubai Air storyline because they didn’t want to be preached at. So even certain fans of fictional football have that similar stance.

Natalie: Oh my GOD.

Megan: But for Sam in this case, seeing the impact his stance has had, on raising awareness about an issue affecting a country outside of the UK, being championed by British kids, at the exact moment he’s been told to look for a sign would feel pretty special.

Natalie: He certainly nods in a decisive way so I think we can lock his answer in at this point. What happens later isn’t a big shock to us. Well, maybe Edwin’s reaction is.

Megan: No, in that moment I was fairly confident that Sam would be staying. Probably about as confident as Edwin was that he’d be leaving.

Natalie: Ah, Edwin. It’s funny to think that all this was going on without the rest of the team knowing and worrying about losing Sam. They all knew about the helicopter!

Megan: Did none of them ask why?!

Natalie: Maybe they did know, I’m not sure. They’ve all got their own issues to deal with. I won’t hurt your feelings and bring the question of Sam’s agent into it.

Megan: Thank you, I really appreciate that.

Natalie: So looping back AGAIN, the other thread of this day is the Jamie-Roy-Keeley trifecta. There’s a Jamie and Roy bit and a Keeley career bit, but we’re going to talk about them together because both things converge in the chat that Roy and Keeley have at home later.

Megan: Yes, they’re all very connected and intertwined. Starting with Jamie, coming to look for Roy in what, as an aside, is possibly one of my favourite season 2 outfits for him.

Natalie: I was literally going to say the same thing. This is my favourite Jamie outfit ever. Though the one in the season 3 trailer with the black and red hoodie is also good. The ICON hat is mandatory though. I love that he keeps that from season 1 to now, even though a lot of his style changes and softens to reflect his attitude.

Megan: Part of it is down to the outfit itself, part of it is probably down to the faces Jamie makes while wearing it, but it just wins for me.

Natalie: Long sleeves for him to fiddle with is key, a prop for Phil Dunster’s “anxious hands” acting. We discussed the juxtaposition of Nate avoiding Roy and Jamie seeking him out, right one after the other. I want to talk a little bit about a possible theory here, and it’s very much conjecture. To be clear, I think what actually happens is TV convenience. But: Keeley told Roy about the funeral confession last night, or the day before. Very recently. But it happened weeks ago.

I think what we are seeing is Ted Lasso kind of forgetting to factor that time passes. And I think it somewhat takes away from the fact that Jamie wanted to speak to Roy on his own, if Keeley warned him that Roy now knows. And Keeley TELLS ROY she didn’t tell Jamie to apologise, or rather that she didn’t say anything. But the coincidence of Jamie coming to Roy that morning, right after Roy found out… How would you explain that? Aside from TV convenience. Is there a world where Keeley told him that Roy is now aware, and Keeley lied to Roy about not saying anything? Even if she didn’t tell Jamie to do anything?

Related: ‘Ted Lasso’ hair and makeup designer Nicky Austin on season 2’s character journeys and what she and Juno Temple want fans to know about Keeley

Megan: I think the phrasing there is really important. If Keeley means that she didn’t urge Jamie to apologise, I think that is likely very true, I can’t see her lying about that. But that doesn’t exclude the possibility that Keeley had let Jamie know she’d told Roy. I do think that is feasible. But honestly, I don’t like it as an explanation, because as you say, it does take away from the fact that Jamie went to Roy on his own, which is an important element of his growth.

He does seem very surprised when Roy shouts his name before taking him away for their conversation, so maybe it was just something that Jamie had been worrying over in his head, and as luck would have it he just happened to pick the day after Roy found out to apologise. Or maybe even ahead of Ted’s speech about choices, Jamie had already seen the news about Ted and had mused about the fact that that was something Ted had kept secret, and Jamie realised he wanted to tell Roy off the back of that.

Natalie: That’s a good point, if he had already had secret-keeping in mind. I think probably just being in sync is my favourite option, if we have to excuse TV convenience. That it had been brewing for Jamie and Keeley the same way. I think Keeley didn’t tell Roy before to protect both his and Jamie’s feelings, because it would disrupt the team, all sorts of things. She wasn’t going to leave Roy for Jamie, so why let Roy kick off about it? But then the moment came. And I guess it had been brewing for Jamie too.

I do like to think that Jamie already apologised to Keeley for it — he does say sorry when he does it, but I want to think he texted her at least with a version of what he says to Roy. So it isn’t just like sorry for overstepping to Roy, but to Keeley, the person actually he did it to. I don’t think Keeley was offended by it, just very thrown, but it’s tricky. He was not asking her for anything, he just wanted her to know what she meant to him and that he’s grateful for her. Maybe putting himself a little bit on the table, but I don’t think that was the aim — he said it was a “mad shitty” thing to do. Just catharsis more than anything.

Megan: Yeah I think that’s right about Keeley not saying anything initially. Especially if, as you like to think, Jamie had sent her a separate apology. In her head it’s not something she’s going to act on, it’s not something that bothered her, and it isn’t that Jamie actually did anything, he just shared how he felt. But then I imagine it did brew away, because Keeley knows that her past with Jamie had caused some feelings for Roy before, and so when that conversation happened, she took it as a sign to tell him.

Natalie: Getting into the ridiculously hilarious but deeply adorable incident that did actually happen, as opposed to what may have happened, Roy hears Jamie was looking for him and he pulls him in for a friendly chat, or as oppositional from a friendly chat as you can get. Jamie pointing at himself when Roy screams “Tartt!” will never not be funny and it is 10,000 times better because of the sleevey paws!

Megan: Yes! That moment still makes me cackle every time I see it, especially combined with the way everyone else in the team backs away from him as if they want to avoid being branded guilty by association. And then the way he walks out of the dressing room with Roy following behind just makes me think of a kid being sent to the headteacher’s office.

Natalie: You have to assume in that moment Jamie knows what this is about for Roy, that they’re on the same page here. But knowing Roy, he could be mad about anything. The first important thing when talking about this is that it is Roy and Jamie’s first one-on-one scene since the Wembley hug, and that a fair amount of time has passed. If you’re considering the timeline of an FA Cup semi-final and then the end of the league season, it’s at least a month if not more. We missed a lot of stuff with people on the team, and certain other dynamic,s between episodes 8 and 11, because “Beard After Hours” was what it was, then 10 was just the funeral.

Megan: “Beard After Hours” is a very good standalone episode with some incredible moments, but I do wish there had been an episode set in the days following so we could have seen more of the aftermath of that moment in the Wembley dressing room.

Natalie: Yes. And we don’t know how, exactly, but you would have to assume that their relationship had already taken a turn for the better? That since Wembley there was a new understanding and a slight friendship between them. There are tiny little things, like Jamie running over carrying Isaac to scream directly in Roy’s face in victory after dancing to “Bye Bye Bye,” and Roy slowly applauding him. TINY background things. But nothing at all to show us what it’s been like between them since then. But I always assumed, like… better. Probably didn’t talk about the cuddle, but better.

Megan: Given how powerful that hug scene was, it was kind of disappointing to have their next moment return to that aggressive level of friction again, especially when we don’t really see much of what has changed between them since “Man City.”

Natalie: I actually have more on that later, when they make up. I have thoughts about why this angered Roy so badly, and I don’t think it’s as simple as it seems. But one thing that’s definitely changed is that Jamie isn’t afraid of Roy anymore. At all. I don’t know if he ever really was, but in the past, it’s most usually been Jamie taunting Roy, Roy getting proper angry, and Roy being the one to escalate to violence.

We know Jamie has a bad history with male authority and some level of physical intimidation. We don’t know what level, we don’t know if he was hit or whatever — we saw his dad throw a boot at him, but punching his dad was a big deal and felt like a new escalation of their issues. It could be that calculated beatings were not a thing — especially when James wanted him to play well! — and it was more just random violent outbursts like the boot.

The point is, Roy talks a lot of shit and he has laid hands on Jamie before. I don’t know if Jamie was scared of it the way he was scared of his father, but if he ever was, he’s not now. He isn’t laughing at Roy or anything, he’s absolutely expecting a telling off that he thinks he deserves, but he tolerates all Roy’s meaningless threats fairly patiently and they don’t dissuade him from pushing through. It’s like he accepts that this is just how Roy talks now. He doesn’t rise to it. He’s nervous because he’s admitting he did something wrong that will anger Roy, but it isn’t like… fear.

Megan: And honestly, the prior scenes where they do get physical with each other has always been the usual kind of shoving you see between football players when they’re out on the pitch — though usually between opposition players, not the same team! — and of course the one really intense forehead press. But with this, outside of taking a second to kind of process what Roy has said, Jamie seems completely unfazed by it. I always get the sense that he has definitely practised that speech, especially the beginning bit. Like he’s gone to the club today with a fixed idea of what he’s going to say to Roy, and even the threat of losing his teeth isn’t going to stop him saying it. Which would maybe give some weight to the theory that this has been something growing in Jamie’s mind and that’s why he chose today to say it.

Natalie: That makes sense, about the fact that he’s been brewing on it and working out what he wanted to say. And also that he knows that Roy does actually care about him as a person a little bit, and him as a player quite a lot. Roy was never really going to injure him the day before their biggest match! Or ever, really. He’s his coach. Jamie trusts Roy at this point. But it’s very much like, “Yeah, okay, I hear you, teeth, sure.”

Megan: “Yes, yes, fine, big man Roy Kent’s going to knock my teeth out. I believe you, now will you let me apologise.”

Natalie: One of my favourite things about Jamie — no, it’s actually probably my favourite thing about him full stop — is how incredibly emotionally available he is, even with his trauma, and has been from day one. He’s possibly the most emotionally intelligent Ted Lasso character, as I have expanded on in my article about how Phil Dunster should have been acknowledged by the Emmys. Jamie isn’t a repressed person at all. Sometimes it’s a bit more difficult for him, sometimes it’s easy, but at the end of the day, out of all the Ted Lasso characters, Jamie is the only person who really never hides his feelings. He is extremely honest, for better or for worse. And he usually doesn’t struggle to express it, even in moments like this. Do you know what I mean? That apology is so whole that it literally makes Roy speechless.

It’s a moment that shows them as a kind of inverse of one another, and Jamie gets the upper hand in the dynamic due to his honesty. He leaves Roy at a loss, and it highlights for us that Jamie is an incredible communicator and Roy is an awful one. It isn’t the first time Jamie has pulled out something like that either — the scene with Roy at the children’s benefit, what he says to Keeley in “The Diamond Dogs” when he isn’t looking for sex, the curse fire, and even when he’s saying something nasty, he says EXACTLY what he means, and he uses more words and details to say it than many people do. I think I said this before in my article, but it’s like the channels between his brain, heart and mouth are all wide open. For Roy, they’re locked up. It’s so interesting to me that he has these daddy issues but he isn’t emotionally repressed. It is my favorite thing about how nuanced he is.

Related: Phil Dunster of ‘Ted Lasso’ delivered one of 2021’s greatest TV performances, and Emmy voters need to remember that

Megan: Yeah, I get what you mean exactly. Sometimes you might, if you know him, wish that he possibly didn’t say everything he thinks, but in general his openness is such a positive thing about his character. And it could be seen as a surprise given his dad, but we also know that his mum is the exact opposite of that, right? Like, he talks about her just wanting him to be happy, to be a good lad, so you have to assume that his openness and emotional availability comes from her, not James.

Natalie: I think it’s also evidence that James never raised him, and that the worst of Jamie we see in season 1 is actually a fairly temporary state for him, a more recent defensive layer. This is a bit of a deep cut and I think we will learn this either way in Ted Lasso season 3 given the trailer, but a few people thought that speech meant his mum was dead. I totally disagree, because he talks about her in the present tense, and right here in this apology to Roy, he talks about “not used to being around dead people,” as opposed to like “I don’t do well with funerals because of my mum.” Ted Lasso writes certain characters as damaged by grief, like Ted and Roy, and if that was a part of Jamie, I think we would know about it, but it feels like the opposite.

Really, Jamie’s development during the two seasons of Ted Lasso so far, the speed at which he reverts to a sweetheart who plays well with others, says to me that he doesn’t have childhood trauma and that he’s just inherently, at his core, a decent, happy, and yes, cocky guy who knows his own mind and feels that his confidence is earned — it’s not a fake defensive cockiness due to his dad. That his dad’s pressure is the only bad thing in his life, and that it isn’t a lifelong pressure, it’s like, maybe the last five years or something? I always liked in the curse fire how he says he hated how his dad acted straight away. It was never like, “Oh, I wanted to impress him.” It was “I immediately hate this, but unfortunately the end result of trying to get him to leave me alone has turned me into something he would approve of.”

Megan: Yeah, it was always “I want him to leave me alone.” I am really keen to see how that trailer scene plays out and what we learn about Jamie’s upbringing as a result of it, but I do think scenes like this one with Roy, Jamie’s openness in general, and as you say, how quickly he reverts to being good and how much more authentic that feels, suggests an upbringing that, while obviously not particularly privileged, wasn’t one that was heavy with James’ influence. He’s still your classic young footballer, using joke insults with the rest of the team, quick to tell Jan to shut the fuck up, but he’s so quick to becoming a real part of the team in season 2 and thrives in that environment, not being the center of attention. And as a side note: I love the trend of Jamie saying things that stun Roy into only being able to shout “FUCK” and then storm off. First in “Headspace” and now here. Can’t wait to see how he provokes Roy into it next season.

Natalie: Roy being left lost for words because he’s just learned from Jamie — in “Headspace” unintentionally, here very much something he was meant to receive — is a great running theme.

Megan: I really love it.

Natalie: I’m sure it’ll continue, because I think why it matters is that element of Jamie being frank and not struggling to say meaningful things. Whether they’re at Roy or not. I also appreciate that this quality is Phil Dunster’s favourite thing about him: he’s said “He’s pretty congruent with what he thinks and what he says,” [Collider] and “He is absolutely honest and true to himself. There is no pretend or bravado.” [AwardsRadar] That is the total opposite of Roy. So these two have a lot to learn from one another. It isn’t a one way system from coach to player. Jamie always goes above and beyond when explaining how he feels, and it often startles the people around him. Roy explaining how he feels is a different kind of shock.

Megan: Yes! Even when Roy’s volunteering the information freely you get the sense it’s being pulled out of him by some invisible force. Possibly because where Jamie is a Zoomer who grew up with a very nice mum, Roy grew up in the 80s and 90s, in a football academy in Sunderland surrounded by coaches and other boys. You have to imagine that doesn’t leave a person all that great at communication. How do we get Roy to speak to Sharon in season 3?

Natalie: I don’t think it’ll happen but he needs it. I would say Jamie’s more forthright than Keeley, too. Keeley has her own kind of repression, she’s manically positive when she’s anxious. Ted and Rebecca both rarely say what they mean. Roy often can’t physically get the words out, it hurts him. Higgins fluctuates between very open and terrified. But those are not Jamie problems.

Megan: No not remotely. I’d say Sam is probably similarly open. Beard is a mysterious enigma, but as established everything he says is gold.

Natalie: Beard knows what he means, he just chooses not to speak.

Megan: Haha, yes exactly. When Roy does manage to force himself to speak though, he’s not bad at. It just takes a lot to get him there.

Natalie: Roy says fantastic things because he’s overthought everything to an excessive degree. So he has MANY thoughts — when he allows himself to look at something. It just is a struggle to speak them aloud. But he tries hard when he needs to.

Megan: Oh 100%. That is a man that lies awake at night meticulously planning everything he’d like to say, if he could just bring himself to do it.

Natalie: So far, he has not had a moment like this with Jamie, not a positive one, where he’s pushed through and really said what he feels about the situation. So I’m popping that on the list for Ted Lasso season 3.

Megan: I fully support that.

Natalie: Equally, I think there are things that Roy refuses to think about, like his future career, even when he knew he was near unable to play. I think Roy can put up walls in his mind to just not think about something at all, not entertain any ideas about something at all, because doing so will make him spiral. And here, that “FUCK” is because Jamie just bulldozed a wall.

Roy was not prepared for that apology, he wasn’t prepared to believe it. If he’d gotten any new goodwill towards Jamie and whether he was a good person, it evaporated when he learned about the funeral. He’s expecting the worst and he’s not expecting to be okay with Jamie, he probably forgets everything else he knows about Jamie and any good moments and is determined for this to suck, and for him to tell Jamie off, and for Jamie to not be able to satisfy him with whatever he’s about to say to defend himself. Instead, what Jamie shows of himself disarms Roy so much that Roy can’t handle it.

Megan: Yes! And again I wish we had seen more of their relationship between Wembley and this so we could see how that goodwill had manifested before now. But either way, Roy goes in expecting the worst, and what he gets is a very open, very heartfelt apology from Jamie — and a very shocked audience in the form of Will.

Natalie: Poor Will. He didn’t ask for this.

Megan: He just wants to wash the towels and get rid of any new cigarette butts.

Natalie: He knows too much!

Megan: To be fair to him, I too would probably freeze in that situation. Or maybe laugh. I’m impressed with his ability to stay so quiet.

Natalie: One other little element of the Jamie-Keeley-Roy situation that is worth noting is the phrasing. Keeley tells Roy, “Jamie still loves me,” and Jamie tells Roy, “told her that I still loved her.” This usage of “still” actually changed my perception of how serious Jamie and Keeley were before, and even before this, I thought they were more serious than many other fans did. We don’t know how long Jamie and Keeley were together. We know she had a key to his place, and apparently they were saying they loved each other, that they were in love. It frames their break-up a bit differently, and maybe also the length of their relationship. It’s interesting that a lot of people thought they were fairly shallow and casual, but that just the use of still reframes their history as something more meaningful. It also ups the threat level to Roy.

Megan: And to be fair, before this arc I could see how people could see it that way, that with the way Jamie is in the first few episodes of season 1, you could assume it was never serious to him. But the fact that he, Keeley and Roy all talk about Jamie and Keeley’s love like it was known that it had been there in the first place definitely frames it as always having been a serious relationship, no matter how it ended.

Natalie: I agree and I am someone who does NOT think Jamie cheated on Keeley either. I never saw the Bex thing as an intent to cheat with her? He seems too honest a person to fuck around, and he absolutely adored Keeley. I think it was just what he said, that stupid branding idea. I don’t think Keeley would have stayed friends with him if it was about cheating.

Megan: I think he’s a bit of a cocky show off, and he liked the idea of a bidding war. I also think he’s just stupid enough to not realise how it would look if he got caught out.

Natalie: Hence their breakup being the final straw in a long line of thoughtless acts, an immature misunderstanding that makes Keeley look embarrassed. NOT cheating. The show may yet say otherwise if they revisit Keeley and Jamie’s history, but for now that is my read.

Megan: But yeah, the fact that Keeley liked him, agreed to date him, and still had time for him even after they broke up tells me she saw a lot of good in him, and as such we the audience even from the start should maybe realise there’s a bit more to him than his initial introduction.

Natalie: Yeah! We are meant to love Keeley straight away, and Keeley valued Jamie. Never stopped valuing him, really.

Megan: Just got a bit too pissed off to date him.

Natalie: At least at that moment. But given how far he’s come, the new Jamie could make Roy feel threatened. He might be thinking, “So here’s this guy, who you loved even when he was a prick, and who you dumped basically over a misunderstanding, and who is absolutely gorgeous, and young and whole, and you stayed friends with him after breaking up, and the only bad thing about him is that he’s an immature dickhead, and now he’s not that. Whereas here’s me, old and broken and mean and unable to express how I feel.” Jamie easily could be seen by Roy as a better “package.”

Roy feels confident in Keeley and trusts her but I also think that his own self hatred could still make him feel, well, he’s a better option than me. This is maybe more something to talk about with the Diamond Dogs meeting, so we can save it. but regarding the “still” of Jamie and Keeley’s love story, it’s made me appreciate their earlier scenes as a couple more. I think they fucking adored each other, for what it was worth at the time.

Megan: I agree. It really does make me want to know a bit more about how they met— was it when Jamie was at City? Or only after he came down to Richmond? How long was he at Richmond before Ted got there? Maybe that can be another spin off. A prequel following a few of their pre-show arcs. They’re all going to be so busy filming all my many spin off requests.

Natalie: I feel relatively confident that Jamie came to Richmond in the summer of 2019, six months before Ted, because he had not attended the annual benefit before. But we don’t know for sure. I do know that I LOVE Jamie and Keeley together, which is why throuple is the only satisfying answer at this point.

Megan: You will obviously get no argument from me there. It just makes sense, okay? It’s the logical next step for these three.

Natalie: A beautiful, logical, sensible next step. Moving on to Keeley’s part of the story, we see her freaking out over an email right after politely turning down a Piers Morgan interview with Ted. What do you think would happen if Piers Morgan did actually pursue this? I appreciated the burn, anyway, but ugh.

Megan: I mean Piers Morgan is one of the most awful people ever, so if it did happen I would likely do an Isaac and break the screen. But more likely, Piers would be a dick and Ted would politely smack him down in a way not dissimilar to the darts scene. It’s been a big week for Keeley, uncomfortable shopping trips, confessional photoshoots, and now this. I can’t remember now what I originally thought that email would be based on her reaction, but this is a pretty huge deal for someone whose job a little over a year ago was being famous for being sort of famous.

Natalie: I just need to take a second to talk about the dog thing, though.

Megan: Yes, you do.

Natalie: Greyhound puppies are so cute! I love to see them! I want to put their floppy ears in my mouth and chew on them! But I have not had the chance to say this anywhere else yet: Fuck this entire dog plot in the arse with a splintered cricket bat. I hate it so much. Top to bottom. I did not need the season to start with Dani killing a dog. There were other ways to give him the yips. I hated the random cartoon element they used to show his fears too. But more than anything I fucking HATE this moment because at the start of the season they talk about Rebecca donating to Barkingham Palace, Richmond’s largest dog shelter.

Megan: This is probably the plotline I’ve seen you get the most angry about throughout this whole series existing, but I really agree with you. Love Sharon, love the idea of Dani faltering in his optimism and needing to be helped back, LOVE Jamie giving him the penalty, but I really did not need dog death to kick things off.

Natalie: Greyhound rescue is one of the most important breed-specific things in the world of dog rescue, due to the cruelty of the racing industry. Totally fine with Richmond having a RESCUE GREYHOUND mascot that came from a shelter. Did NOT need said greyhound to die, but if he truly had to… Sure. I accepted it, all season. Until this. Ooooooh, I am still so angry about it. We meet Suzy Campbell, who is providing Richmond with a litter of selectively bred female greyhounds to choose from. Keeley asks if the puppies are from Barkingham Palace and that’s when they introduce Suzy, saying in the same breath that she’s the person who runs the shelter and is London’s premier all-female dog breeder.

Megan: You and I both have strong feelings about dog breeding anyway, but especially where greyhounds are concerned, the fact that it prioritises showing cute, newly bred puppies over rescuing an old retired dog just really sits badly with me, and makes a plot choice I already disliked worse.

Natalie: You can not run a rescue and be a breeder, especially a genetically selective one. Oh, I hate it so much. Fuck you. That’s not rescue. It is absolutely wild to me that the show was so casual about saying the dog shelter charity Rebecca donated money to was also a highly specialised for-profit breeding operation. Given they have Sam talking about dogs in pounds being put to sleep in season 1.

Megan: Oh I had forgotten that! Yes!

Natalie: This was such an irresponsible way to show them getting a new greyhound, and they should have done it in a more ethical way.

Megan: Look, if they really wanted to revisit the dog plot I wouldn’t have minded a nice wholesome scene where Nigel meets a few lovely old retired greyhounds to see who he vibes with the most! That would have been fine! And Suzy Campbell could still exist! Just with a more ethical career. But not this.

Natalie: All intentional dog breeding is wrong, but the greyhound racing industry should be banned, there are so many ex-racers in need. It makes me SO mad.

Megan: Agreed.

Natalie: Very frustrating. And given that Suzy Campbell is obviously a Dog Lesbian who hits on Keeley, it could have been a lot nicer if she was a messy, scrappy, proper rescue person. Not a posh, upper class, breeder snob.

Megan: Yes, I would have enjoyed that so much more. As it is, Keeley seems flattered and a little bemused by Suzy’s attention.

Natalie: The dog thing is the only thing about the whole show I’ve genuinely loathed. I’ve wanted more from some parts, or disliked how person A treated person B in a moment that I’m sure has future meaning, but this is an element played for laughs that I just hate. Sorry, Ted Lasso writers. But do better! The dogs deserve better! I certainly don’t hate queer Keeley, and I hope we get more confirmation of that in Ted Lasso season 3.

Megan: You’re right and you should say it. Both about the dogs deserving better, and about getting more queer Keeley. I really haven’t seen anyone else talk about the puppy scene as being problematic, so I’m not sure if we’re in the minority in hating it so much, or if people were just too distracted by cute puppies, but either way I wish they’d gone a different route.

Natalie: Well, I cared a lot and it’s just the kind of thing Ted Lasso is usually less careless with. They never make cheap jokes at the expense of something, the jokes they make are usually very subversive and end up with a point of view that’s very ethical, if you know what I mean. The show always has the characters take the most ethical stance — Ted and Planned Parenthood for example — and jokes stem from that. It bummed me out that they didn’t do the same here. Sure they can make a joke about running over the neighbours’ snake, but the rescue greyhound slash dog breeding carelessness was a big step away from that.

Megan: Yeah, it really does clash badly with the otherwise, at least in my view, very good political and ethical stances they take. And genuinely, I do think it was just carelessness and a desire to make greyhound related puns about cute puppies, but that’s not really a good enough excuse.

Natalie: Sigh. Let’s move on to the actual point, which is that Keeley wants to talk to Higgins about her news, which is an offer to finance her own PR firm. Now, there are questions about why they would even do this given her lack of experience, but it wasn’t until super recently, not until I wrote that unlikely team-up article, that it even occurred to me that that may be a plot point. That her new PR firm wasn’t just going to be perfect, that giving it to her wasn’t just TV magic but that we may actually see her really struggle to keep up. Realistically, they’re taking a big risk and she’s taking on something she doesn’t know how to do, and that even marketing people with years of experience would take a lot longer to be able to do. But at this point in the show I absolutely didn’t think for a second in that direction. She mainly is worried about leaving Richmond.

Related: The ‘Ted Lasso’ character team-ups we’d like to see getting good minutes during season 3

Megan: Yes, worried about leaving Richmond— and that doing so will leave Rebecca thinking she’s ungrateful.

Natalie: Here’s my question. When Higgins is like, “Oh, you’re scared because she’s so intimidating and you leaving would be a betrayal akin to Greek Mythology.” Do you think he’s being earnest? Or do you think he’s overblowing it to make Keeley be like, “No, nothing that bad.” She takes him seriously, but I think he was playing her. In a “nothing to worry about” way.

Megan: Good question. I don’t think he thinks Keeley leaving is a betrayal, but I suppose there is a world in which he knows what it’s like to let Rebecca down and perhaps he thinks she might consider it a betrayal. But no, I also think he’s playing her! Higgins’ first impulse in serious chats often seems to be to joke it off, but he always comes back around with some actually fairly wise words of advice.

Natalie: To me it felt like, you know, Keeley was frantic and he was like, oh, “So it’s THIS TERRIBLE THING,” and Keeley is like “No… nothing that bad…” Already controlling her own feelings. This is a good tactic for parenting actually, and he does have 5 kids. Pitching a “worst that could happen” so the person is like, no, nothing that bad. Then onboarding the idea that “Oh… it isn’t that bad!” Keeley’s fear about seeming ungrateful is somewhat valid, but Higgins’ advice is great. He deserves to be proud of himself for that one.

Megan: Yes that is a really good strategy, because, to misquote Keeley herself, it really takes the panic wind out of her anxiety sails. As someone who often worries about letting people down, and I can understand her fears and anxiety, but I don’t think anyone actually watching is worried Rebecca will react badly, Higgins certainly isn’t.

Natalie: No, and with that assurance, Keeley allows herself to be pleased and look forward to telling Roy at home. When they chat in her kitchen, he talks about what Jamie did and she tells him about this, before an extra element kind of spoils the mood. I liked that Roy told Keeley about what Jamie did. Like, couples that close do tend to talk about everything, but he did it with this sense of like…”So, this was surprisingly decent.” Like he wanted Keeley to know that Jamie had been good, or maybe more that he, Roy, had been good about it.

Megan: Yes I really loved that whole part of the conversation. Roy was very like “Oh so this was a thing you’ll enjoy hearing” and Keeley’s gentle ribbing about how Roy would have reacted was so funny and yet another example of people not taking Roy’s rage seriously. But I like that they have moved into a place where they can talk about Jamie, and his history with both of them, without it feeling charged.

Natalie: “Did you murder him” always gets me. But I think Roy really wanted her to know that he forgave Jamie and that he handled it well, and when she says she’s happy about it and supports it, his reflective “Hmmmmmm” is very funny to me too, it’s this “Yeah, well, I don’t have more words to talk about how complicated I feel over this, but there you fucking go.” Her news, on the other hand is wholly positive. But this is when I knew they were going to break up. It wasn’t ever going to be Jamie that broke them up, but after Roy’s initial and very sexy burst of joy, when he says “You’re not going to have time for me anymore.” I knew it was over, at least temporarily.

Megan: It’s just a really good conversation to show how good they are together, while also setting it up perfectly for things to go wrong.

Natalie: I am 100% certain we will start Ted Lasso season 3 with them split up. The final scene of them in this episode is too loaded.

Megan: I, unfortunately, agree. Roy doesn’t think he has enough to offer her, and once she gets busy and successful and impresses everyone, well… Why would she want him around? Oh Roy.

Natalie: It helps the sad mood, that after he picks her up and puts her down, they play Roy’s leitmotif, his musical cue for season 2, to show his feelings. The clearest version of the theme is in the soundtrack tune called “Roy’s Holiday,” but it’s used from 2.01 onwards, in different keys and on different instruments. That theme isn’t always negative, but it’s usually a big feeling of some sort, and the usage here is sonically very sad and worried.

Roy is a super needy person, we already know he wants more closeness and attention in a relationship than she does, so something else that Keeley needs to dedicate herself to so fully could absolutely detract from what she has to give to Roy. Even with the best of intentions, it could be that they just want different things from each other. But then of course that feeling of “no place for Roy” is worsened when the article proofs arrive. I feel so awful for both of them.

Megan: This episode should be so happy for both of them, between their individual career successes, but it isn’t because of the underlying impact it has on them. They clearly love each other so much and are so comfortable around each other now in some areas, but this just feels bad. And in this moment Roy is definitely starting to realise it. Keeley doesn’t seem to be yet, but she does like to repress negativity, so maybe it’s starting for her too.

Natalie: It’s so unfair that this moment Keeley should be wholly happy about, with the magazine, she isn’t able to just be happy because of Roy’s feelings. And Roy is utterly heroic about how he supports her through it even though he is dying inside.

Megan: He really is. As viewers it’s clear that he’s feeling shit about it, but he really covers it well.

Natalie: Side note, I really enjoy the list of things they didn’t open the champagne for. I need a whole flashback plot about what Keeley’s mum was like — was she living there for a while? She was clearly annoying them. Celebrating England failing in Eurovision is just patriotic. And then what the fuck happened with the snake? Is it the same neighbour Roy stole flowers from? Roy and Keeley must be such annoying neighbours.

Megan: Also “moved back up North” implies she’s from there! Keeley’s accent and whole vibe is very Home Counties to me, so is her dad from the south and her mum Northern? I’d love to know more about her backstory. Last year England did very well in Eurovision and none of us knew what to think. It was a dark time. You have to hope the walls of Keeley’s house are thick enough to block the sound of Roy’s swearing.

Natalie: Another side note: the shot of Roy correctly opening that bottle of champagne in that tight T-shirt… choosing to frame around his forearms and biceps…. that was a choice the show made.

Megan: Yes. They knew what they were doing.

Natalie: More Kitchen Roy content in Ted Lasso season 3.

Megan: We’ll add to the list.

Natalie: All in all it’s such a great scene that makes me so happy about how great a couple they are, and how sad because I can see the future. Even when she gets the article and he’s like “Ooooh shit, they better not have used any pictures of me smiling!” The playfulness.

Megan: It’s just so loaded and so well done, it’s such a lovely domestic scene and if they’d just used one picture of Roy, you would leave that scene feeling so happy and content. Fuck you Vanity Fair, even if it was the right choice editorially.

Natalie: I love the way Roy gives compliments. When he comes into the photoshoot in episode 11, he says “You look so cool.” Not hot, or anything sexualised, though of course he’s attracted to her. The way he says cool there, and the fact that here he opens with powerful.

Megan: Yes, and you know that’s the vibe they’re going for with that outfit, and he picks up on it immediately and appreciates it. Again, it all serves to show how great they are together, if only they didn’t have their baggage. I do like that while Roy is very closed off talking about himself and his feelings, he is very quick to comment on other people, whether as a compliment or to tell them what they’re doing right or wrong. Like here with Keeley, yes, but also the struck by lightning scene, or telling Jamie what he needs to be doing differently. When it’s not about himself, he’s very good at talking about shit.

Natalie: Every time he picks Keeley up, though, and he does it twice in this scene, I worry about his knee. Though it’s been almost a year. If he didn’t need surgery and he’s done proper rehab, it could be alright depending on the day.

Megan: Keeley is at least a very tiny person. I am willing to bet that I could personally carry her bridal style, and if Juno Temple would ever like to test that theory I’m available. But carrying someone up a flight of stairs, no matter how tiny they are, is tricky.

Natalie: Well I enjoy it for the progressive caveman vibes. But I am constantly scared his knee will go. Be careful, Roy!

Megan: Progressive Caveman is the perfect description for Roy. Nailed it. But yes, I worry about it slightly less than you, but it would be unfortunate!

Natalie: So far so good anyway. But on the morning of the Brentford match, we see the aftermath of Keeley telling Rebecca. Opening up on them both in floods of tears with ruined makeup is SUCH great writing. It’s so funny and it tells you so much, coming in at the end of their chat like that.

Megan: Yes! It gets you past a boring rehash of Keeley telling yet another person about the offer, and it just shows how close they are now and you can just imagine the sobbing conversation that got them to this place. And “You helped this panda become a lion” is just so funny and such a good callback to their first real interaction in Ted Lasso season 1. It’s so lovely, and so funny and their friendship is just… everything.

Natalie: Exactly — she’s already explained it to two people, so spelling out the details isn’t important, but they saved the emotional impact for us. It’s very funny. But also very earnest and meaningful. Rebecca not being able to help herself get drawn in on lion v panda back in “Biscuits” is still so great.

Megan: Yes! I think it’s the first glimpse of the real Rebecca we see in Ted Lasso season 1. I do think Rebecca’s advice about hiring your best friend is really interesting, because on this rewatch I did wonder about that. They weren’t really friends when Rebecca first hired Keeley, though clearly heading that way, and there is a potential read that hiring someone completely untested to do PR for the club she wanted to fail was just more sabotage. But I don’t want that to be true.

Natalie: That it’s something I would love to ask them about, because it absolutely does seem like an element of sabotage. But it could also genuinely have been Rebecca compartmentalising and being like, “This girl was nice to me, I could give her the chance to make a bit of money here” or whatever. It isn’t explored when Keeley catches Rebecca out. She doesn’t say “Is this why you hired me?” But it is ABSOLUTELY possible it was in the same vein as hiring Ted, even though their friendship seems so genuine.

Megan: Yeah, given she does use Keeley for the paparazzi arc, it is very plausible. But at the same time, Rebecca was genuinely touched by Keeley’s actions at the gala, and possibly forgot about the whole destroy Richmond angle for a moment there and just wanted to do something nice for this women who helped her out for no apparent reason. And let’s be honest, no amount of good PR is going to help if Richmond get relegated, so Rebecca might not see that as too much of a threat to the overall plan.

Natalie: There’s quite a lot of moments that show Rebecca being genuinely good to people, then having to remember she’s on a mission. She is compartmentalising. She is fluctuating. So it could be any number of things.

Megan: Yes. Her actual self comes through at key moments, and when she realises, she has to push it back down and keep going. The curse fire is another example of that, she gets swept up in it thanks to Sam, she joins in, she’s enjoying herself — wrapped in a Richmond jacket even — and then she remembers her actual goal and has to force it back down and forge ahead. Glad we don’t have that Rebecca anymore in season 2.

Natalie: Indeed, though Rupert is still causing trouble. It’s here that they discover he’s bought West Ham, which… God.

Megan: It is very ironic to me that he bought West Ham, given that in the current Premier League season, they are actually in very real danger of being relegated themselves. I doubt the writers expected that when they picked out that team.

Natalie: I don’t know if I am interested in giving any nuance to Rupert, but the one thing I’ll say that I believe about him as a genuine quality, not a good thing but a real thing, is that I believe he cares about football a lot. So was he buying this club because he still really just wanted to own a club? Or did he do it JUST to spite Rebecca? I have a feeling that all of this may come down to the fact that he truly — in that horrible, crazy, demented, Football Man way — did and does love Richmond, so, so much. Not the current players, but the concept of the club, the way those sorts of supporters do. And Rupert is this angry about it because Rebecca took it from him.

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Megan: The thing about most hardcore football fans is that they do have undying loyalty to one club, and he genuinely does seem to love and care about Richmond. So I can’t imagine he feels strongly about West Ham, so yeah, I think he’s just doing it to fuck with Rebecca.

Natalie: I can’t work out why else he’d bother doing anything to spite her at all, if it’s not about her taking Richmond from him.

Megan: For all that he clearly messed her up and got under her skin, the feeling is clearly very mutual.

Natalie: He has no other reason to care about her at all any more. It’s all about her having his club. I’m sure of it.

Megan: So I really do think that is his motivation, it’s not about West Ham, it’s not about love of the game. It’s about Rebecca. And Richmond.

Natalie: It always struck me in the season 1 finale, even after he lost his shares, he and Bex were watching at home in their kit. It’s the only vaguely sympathetic Rupert moment in all of Ted Lasso.

Megan: And he does look genuinely devastated. Yeah.

Natalie: So yes, I am sure he wants to beat Rebecca and now maybe ruin Richmond himself, but all of that comes from that place of his own intense love for Richmond. I swear that’s something to do with it, and in season 3 we may get some sort of reveal to do with this, regardless of what he says about switching allegiances to West Ham. I think people who don’t follow football need to truly understand that what they’ve shown about Rupert and Richmond isn’t fickle and I think it will matter. Men like this could not truly handle supporting another club. It is a brain disease they have. Like that reel I shared the other day, that Arsenal fan: “This is the only constant I will ever have in my life […] This is the only thing that survives everything […] It controls my life in ways that it shouldn’t. It defines my happiness.”

Megan: Yes. Like, I am not a normal football fan in that I support many a club, and I personally think this brain disease is a silly one. But I definitely recognise Rupert as being one of those men, so to me there’s no way he wants West Ham for the sake of the Hammers themselves.

Natalie: Declan Rice deserves better!

Megan: I was just about to say that!

Natalie: Ugh!

Megan: Poor Dec, he would not stand for Nate.

Natalie: He’s such a beautiful, positive person that I cannot even stand to think of it. Skipper Dec vs Gaffer Nate… No thanks.

Megan: Skipper Dec would not punch Nate, he’s too nice for that, but I predict he’ll be working overtime trying to support and comfort many players that Nate bullies over the course of Ted Lasso season 3. Poor guy is going to be exhausted.

Natalie: What’s most interesting here is Rebecca’s admission that she thought maybe he’d changed and done something nice by returning his shares. Even after everything, she still leans towards thinking well of him. Ted Lasso does a fairly good job of showing that even when someone destroys you, you don’t shut off being in love with them just like that. You still have programming that says “This is the person I loved” and you might not see clearly. Plenty of moments of pure hate too, but it isn’t that simple.

Megan: Honestly, that is likely why Rebecca went so hard in season 1. Because she loved Rupert so much, and that meant the hate was so deep and intense too. You don’t act that way about someone you don’t feel strongly about.

Natalie: It’s also personal in terms of “Was I a massive idiot for ever thinking well of you.” So proof that maybe they’re not all bad is like, “There was a reason! I’m not stupid!”

Megan: Yeah, she’s once again let herself be fooled by Rupert and maybe this is the time where she’s like, never again. It’ll be interesting to see them go head to head on such equal footing in Ted Lasso season 3.

Natalie: That’s the last moment of the episode that isn’t focused on the events and aftermath of the big match, the final regular match of the season. If Richmond can either win or draw, they’ll get the points needed for the second automatic Premier League promotion slot, and they won’t have to go through a few more weeks of a playoff for the third slot. We see the dates for those potential playoffs on the whiteboard below the Pyramid of Success, and I appreciate the set decoration including that little detail. Even if they never explain in words that today isn’t their last chance, it’s in there.

Megan: Playoffs are so uncertain, so getting through automatically is definitely the preference. Poor Ted though, having to yet again be happy to settle on a draw. He can’t escape them.

Natalie: Nate’s more focused on the Pyramid of Success than the playoffs though. Did you ever notice the look Roy gives Beard about that? Like, “What the fuck is going on with him?” And Beard’s just like “I don’t know.”

Megan: Yes! That look is interesting. I do enjoy Beard and Roy’s close but mostly non-verbal relationship. I don’t think Roy, at this point in time anyway, suspects that Nate had anything to do with the leak to the press, but he does of course know about Nate’s actions with Keeley. I wonder if Beard thinks Roy’s put it together though.

Natalie: It looks like Roy’s about to go over and talk to Nate when Ted walks in and asks if everyone is ready to run “Nate’s false nine.”

Megan: Yeah, he’s heading that way. Do you think Roy would have spoken to Nate about the kiss in private anyway if Nate hadn’t brought it up first?

Natalie: Yes. Especially after Jamie. We have Nate is in his new suit, presumably the one he got with Keeley, all black, very grey hair, and he’s channelling this nasty new level of confidence already in the way he’s like “You’d be fools not to.”

Megan: Yes! He is fully committing to his villain era now, right down to the aesthetic.

Natalie: All this Nate stuff is very difficult for me to speak about because honestly, the response from the Ted Lasso writers has been like “Whoa, we didn’t expect people to hate him this hard!” Brett Goldstein has in particular said this repeatedly and said that they are using that awareness and shock in their approach to season 3, because they did not actually want the response to be this harsh. And I hate to argue against their intent, but it’s all extremely unpleasant and bad in ways I don’t feel are very forgivable, in part because his behaviour is coming from such a warped perception. He’s taken against people who have never wronged him and he’s making up issues in his head, and his own delusion about how he’s been treated makes him do actively cruel and damaging things, on purpose, to Ted.

There’s plenty more to say about it, but I guess this is just me stating that I suspect the Nate redemption is going to be a harder sell to me than the Ted Lasso writers want it to be, and I wonder how many people feel the same. It’s very clear from the press the writers have done that they did not expect this response, despite what they presented. Maybe they thought that people loved him enough in season 1 that they’d feel sorry for him for being so delusional? But for me, seeing this behaviour just coloured all of his stuff from season 1 as negative. I have plenty more to say on that.

Megan: And for me, this scene has Nate do the thing I find possibly the most unforgivable, regarding Keeley, though also his attitude towards women generally. It’s the thing I will really need to be addressed for me to personally consider him redeemed by the end of Ted Lasso, but that I honestly don’t know that it will be.

Natalie: Let’s get into it I guess, because the situation at hand is that before the match, Roy calls a meeting of the Diamond Dogs. It’s very hard for him to ask for “some advice,” but his heart wins out and he wants to bring his troubles to his friends about what happened the photograph erasure and then with Jamie. What did you think of Roy actually managing to share his feelings? Excuse me. His feeling. Singular. Ted and Beard are THRILLED.

Megan: So the thing with Roy is that he does not like to share his feelings. This we know, this we’ve discussed. But when he does actually verbalise them, when he does force them out, he is really eloquent, and honestly any time we see him talk about things like this, he hurts my heart. That way he talks about Keeley, how proud he is of her, how incredible she looked and is, and in turn, how that worries him because he just doesn’t see how he can fit in and be enough for her. It is so upsetting and you can just see the wheels being set in motion for things to go wrong with them. But once he speaks, he does not hold back. He just needs to get better at speaking up earlier, before it builds up. I was very proud of him here, and just as thrilled as Beard and Ted. Actually, him and Ted are both pretty similar in that way. Neither of them want to share how they really feel, and instead they manifest their feelings in unhelpful ways. With Ted it’s over the top positivity, with Roy it’s cartoonish rage.

Natalie: It always strikes me where he’s like “It was at the point where it would have looked weird if I was in the pictures.” And in terms of that profile, maybe that’s correct. But it’s so valid that he’s hurt.

Megan: Yeah, like, you know what Roy, it would be weird to have the boyfriend in a profile about powerful women in business. Don’t worry about it! It’s not a slight on you, it’s not a sign for your relationship. But it feeds into those feelings and worries he already has, and sends him spiralling.

Natalie: Plus… Jamie.

Megan: Yes, Jamie.

Natalie: Ted and Beard and Higgins have a very amusing reaction to that. Nate, not so much. In part, I think they framed it this way so they can have him be like “I need to say something also,” and Higgins and Beard like, lean in. Is this the moment he’s going to admit about leaking the mental health issues and apologise? No. He wants to tell everyone that just like Jamie, he put the moves on Roy’s girlfriend. Or rather, we know Jamie didn’t actually do quite that, but they don’t know what was actually said, so. I have no idea why Nate would want to put this on the table, but he does not like the fact that Roy isn’t angry.

I’ve got plenty of theories about his toxic little brain in this moment, though. The rest of the guys are shocked. Roy is just like, “Yeah, I know, she told me. It’s all good.” Roy even smiles. Now, the BEST case scenario here is that Roy’s like “It’s fine! You’re my friend and you made a mistake! I don’t assume the worst about you, like I assume the worst about Jamie!” It is that, a little. It’s also, very obviously, “It’s fine! You’re not a threat. She’d never want you and everyone knows it, so it means nothing, unlike Jamie, who is desirable to her or any woman.” That element, that Roy didn’t see him as an equal threat, was on Nick Mohammad’s list of Nate’s perceived microaggressions. But what is Nate trying to achieve here?

Megan: This is that moment where Nate reaches a level where I will struggle to forgive him unless it’s handled well. Because I think right here, Nate is really trying to put himself on the same level as Jamie as a romantic rival. For whatever reason, he wants to be seen as a threat, to be seen as someone that Roy should worry about. But the way he reveals what happened in this moment shows a complete lack of regard for Keeley, her feelings and even her safety. Because we, as the audience, already know that Roy knows about the kiss. We know she told him immediately and he wasn’t upset by it, just sympathised with her for how it must have been awkward. We also, as the audience, know that Roy isn’t the kind of person that would be a threat to Keeley because of Nate’s actions.

But if he was, and if Keeley hadn’t told him, so this was the first time he’d heard about his girlfriend kissing another man, he could have been furious — yes with Nate, but also with Keeley for keeping it from him. Nate is clearly expecting a violent reaction. He doesn’t care if that blows back on Keeley either. And then additionally, he reveals this in front of three of Keeley’s colleagues. Given that she found the kiss uncomfortable and awkward, I feel like she probably wouldn’t have wanted Ted, Beard and Higgins to know about it. If I’d been sexually harassed by a coworker and then found out he’d told a bunch of my other colleagues about it in public, I would be mortified. But again, Nate doesn’t care about that. I guess this is my equivalent of the dog breeder rage, but this scene bothers me so much because Nate’s utter disregard for Keeley — someone who has only ever treated him with kindness — is so unforgivable to me.

Natalie: I’ll say first of all that this is more important, on the whole, than the dog breeder! But it is an intentionally shitty moment, rather than a joke that didn’t need to be there. I can also see the worry that this bit won’t get specific attention during Nate’s redemption. Ultimately, because Roy didn’t care and Keeley probably doesn’t mind at this point, it may be seen as like, “Okay, Nate admitted it and the affected parties both consoled him about it. Not that bad.” I can see them not coming back to the core issue that you have, of the fact he should not have said it as some weird bragging point, like “Sorry I told everyone I kissed you in order to feel like a Big Dog competing with Jamie.”

Megan: Honestly I really don’t think they will revisit this particular moment, which will be hard for me because it really did upset and affect me quite a bit. But I do hope that they might address the general matter of Nate’s frankly quiet incel-esque behaviour around women. Because it is a bit of a pattern for him. Calling Rebecca a shrew in the season 1 finale — leaping right to a gendered insult. The jokey comments about women loving shoes, though to his credit he does acknowledge that as being sexist. Talking about liking the idea of groupies. Throughout all of Ted Lasso he says and does things that make me mistrust his attitude towards women.

Natalie: Ultimately a lot of Nate’s issues are about entitlement. And that is terrifying for a woman.

Megan: God. When you put it like that, you are very correct. All of which brings us full circle to your earlier comment about the writers being shocked at how much hate Nate got at the end of season 2. But honestly, they did too good a job laying the groundwork for his downfall, and showing all the many ways he belittles and mistreats people.

Natalie: Nate has done a whole bunch of unforgivable things, honestly, and they’re all done with such intention, directly to the faces of people who don’t deserve it. Colin, who yes, bullied him once, but how Nate treats Colin is not the same, at all, as how Colin ever messed around with him. Will, who Nate hates because Will has been instantly liked and accepted, and is pally with the players. He twists Will’s motive with the Wonder Kid shirt and we all know Will is a total innocent. Roy and Keeley, in this way you’ve just been describing now. And obviously Ted, later.

And Nate has no balance about anything, women included. With Jade at A Taste of Athens, he flicks between almost negging-level smooth, trying to be commanding, “Take my number,” then like “Oh, sorry, sorry, of course not, why would you, I’ll be over here.” There is no balance in him and he never treats a single person like a peer. The closest I can think of is when he tries to commiserate with Roy and Beard as overlooked assistants and they’re like… “No.” And that’s still a moment where he’s trying position them all within a hierarchy.

Megan: Nobody is ever on the same level as him. He either sees them as above him or beneath him and he’s always trying to get to the level above.

Natalie: How can you expect a man with those issues to be okay with women?

Megan: You just can’t. And I’m nervous to see how the Ted Lasso writers attempt to address it in season 3.

Natalie: It feels like they went too far. It’s clear that they didn’t see how it would be received, and if they’re going to scramble to try and make up for it, like “Actually we did not mean it to look this bad,” there’s a lot of ground to make up.

Megan: My concern is there will be too much of an emphasis of “Oh, he’s like this because of his dad” or other reasoning. And the thing is, yes, things like that can explain why someone acted a certain way, but it doesn’t make it justified! And me knowing his dad was emotionally distant doesn’t mean I have to forgive him for treating women poorly.

Natalie: I would personally probably be okay with him not getting redeemed. And Nick Mohammed even said “There’s a very good chance that Nate has gone too far over the mark and can’t come back from this. And he may be the one character that doesn’t get a redemption arc in Ted Lasso.” But I doubt that will be the case. He will get redeemed, because not doing it really would be writing against tone for Ted Lasso. But for me personally, I could easily take this guy as an example of how prior issues can permanently turn someone into a straight up bad person. It happens. But I also have to wonder if his dad is really that bad, or if Nate started having these perception issues very early in life from some specific trigger. If he’s just the kind of person who takes every little thing way, way worse than it actually is, including his dad’s words.

Megan: Honestly same. I think he will be redeemed, because that’s the kind of show it is, but I don’t think I will end the series personally having forgiven Nate, and I think that’s valid for me! Because the thing is, while his dad is shown to be emotionally distant or judgemental, his mum is shown to be very loving and caring? So you would hope that would have made an impact too, but it doesn’t seem to have leveled out.

Natalie: I think what I am struggling with the most is the idea of Ted Lasso turning around and being like “Oh, the nice bumbling Nate was the real Nate, and he genuinely has lots of good soft feelings.” Because when I go back to the show now, I can only see his prior not-awful behaviour as him trying to fit in a hierarchy. It feels like every time he’s given the chance to “be himself” and then is like “Oh, sorry, sorry,” it’s like what explodes out of him when he lets go is something horribly cruel. So I’m like, “Is his natural wiring just… mean? And he’s just very British about it?”

Megan: Yes! When I rewatch, I also feel like the nice bumbling Nate was the act he put on to people above him in the hierarchy and the cruel side of him is what he’s like when he lets his guard down. That really does become more clear to me with every new viewing, and so I’m going to struggle with “Nice Nate” being the real one. It’s nice to know I have Beard as an ally in this scene though. He’d be happy to headbutt Nate, and I, for one, would be happy to watch.

Natalie: Roy and Beard clearly both think he’s so fucking weird for this. Ted, too, but Ted is more accepting. The button on this scene is Roy realising that sometimes the Diamond Dogs is just talking about shit, that no one has to solve anything and nothing changes. He thinks that’s cool. Beard and Ted being hilariously excited by Roy’s approval is one of the great running jokes of Ted Lasso to me.

Megan: I love it so much.

Natalie: They clearly think he is so cool, but they also want him to believe in their methods.

Megan: They are so desperate for his approval, they love winning him around.

Natalie: His approval means a lot to them, and obviously the respect Roy gets (while still being comfortable knowing his place as an assistant) is just another thing that pissed Nate during off in this season. With Nate’s forgiveness, I think it will happen for some people — like Ted — and maybe others like Roy or Beard will be like, “Sorry, I can’t forgive him.” We might see a mix.

Megan: I could accept a mix, I think.

Natalie: I would be okay with that. I doubt he’ll receive universal acceptance.

Megan: It would show that everyone reacts differently, and it is really valid to not forgive a person. It would be valid for Ted, as the wronged person, to decide he forgives Nate, but then equally valid for Beard, as the wronged person’s best friend, to be like “You know what, I respect you so much for forgiving him, but I cannot.”

Natalie: I’m sure we’ll have even more to say about Nate during his big showdown with Ted, but first we’ve got a match to play. As much as I love watching the actual football scenes on Ted Lasso, cutting to right before half time was probably smart. They’ve played about 44 minutes of the false nine and it is not working out.

Megan: No, it’s not going well, and the commentators are baffled at the choice of tactic.

Natalie: I adore these two, they add so much to Ted Lasso experience for me. Chris Powell also helps them plan the actual football, I believe. As a crew member.

Megan: Oh I didn’t know that! That’s very cool! And of course Arlo White’s cheat sheets for the season 1 finale are great. In general, the number of real life football people that Ted Lasso uses really adds to it. I do remember on my first watch doing periodic double takes whenever people like Arlo White or Jeff Stelling popped up, because they have such familiar voices from always being on the TV growing up and it really threw me at first.

Natalie: I love their commitment to the show. I hope we get more people in Ted Lasso season 3. But I love Arlo and Chris, and Jeff, as regulars.

Megan: We’re both holding out for that season 3 Pep cameo.

Natalie: He needs to give Jamie a kiss and a cuddle.

Megan: That’s just football accuracy right there.

Natalie: No one is very happy at the half — Nate being outwardly aggressive from the touchline and the others staring him down for it, Ted manically clapping and all. But they’re down 0-2 and it isn’t great.

Megan: Roy probably seems the calmest actually — rare for him — but as the only guy in the coaches office that’s actually played football, he probably knows more than any of them that football is a game of two halves, and coming back from a 2-0 deficit, while not easy, happens all the time.

Natalie: Never getting over the Renaissance painting portraying masculine melancholy. But a 2 goal deficit is NOT impossible at all. The question is whether to stick with their tactic or switch approaches. Nate is the first one to suggest abandoning the false nine, and he blames the players in a very nasty way. As you mentioned, how will he handle being the boss at West Ham? Dragging the players like that? Not on. Ultimately, the players do not plan the formations or tactics.

Megan: The masculine melancholy painting might be a top five Ted Lasso moment. Maybe. Don’t actually ask me to choose that list. But yeah, Nate doesn’t want to be blamed for things going wrong, so he wants to abandon the idea, but it’s Roy who steps in and suggests asking the team what they think. Because while, as you say, they don’t plan the formations or tactics, they are the ones actually out there doing it. It’s another example of his past footballing experience coming into play.

Natalie: It’s also another moment where Roy “wins” over Nate and that Nate hates. Roy isn’t suggesting a new tactic to replace Nate’s, but his idea is the action they choose to take.

Megan: And given Nate’s scathing assessment of the players a few moments earlier, it seems doubtful he’s up for listening to them right now anyway. But they do ask. Jamie’s face in response to the question is just incredible. But they all seem pretty shocked to be asked.

Natalie: They players don’t know it was Roy’s idea, but what does it mean to you that this was his approach? Like you said, his experience as a player — just him knowing how it usually goes? How powerless a player can feel? They don’t have a ton of autonomy. It being their choice makes them so much more confident.

Megan: Honestly yes, all of the above. Obviously when they’re out on the pitch they have a better feel for what’s working and what isn’t, they’ll know whether or not it’s the tactic that is the issue or the way they’re putting it into practice. So being asked what they think of it, how they think it’s going, what they think is working, will give them that confidence, and I think Roy will know how it feels to be sitting in the dressing room at half time, with a goal deficit, in a hugely important match. So he’ll understand the psychology and help get the players to get back up. And he’ll know that belittling them is not the right approach.

Natalie: There are probably times that he’s wanted to be asked. Do players ever just switch up their shape mid match of their own accord? Break formation in a way that wasn’t planned for that scenario? Obviously they would run so many options, like “if this happens, we do this,” approved changes planned in the event of XYZ. But what about going rogue?

Megan: It depends on the player and the team. Like, let’s use Jack Grealish as an example, because why would I use anyone else. At Villa, he was the captain, he was the playmaker, and he basically had blanket permission to run off and do what he thought was best on the pitch and go where he thought he needed to go, and that worked, there. But now that he’s at City, Pep is a lot more firm about sticking to formations and positions and playing so strictly is a change for him. Which isn’t to say that City players can’t then adjust and move around— they still sometimes ends up in very unexpected places, like Jack had brilliant tackle on Son Heung-min a few weeks back, but in general they stick to the plan laid out by Pep. So I think it’s down to the coach and the players. I think Roy as a coach would be pro giving the players more freedom, I think Nate as a coach would not.

Natalie: Yes, but that’s the player and the rest of the team and a manager being being onboard with giving that playmaker that creative freedom. Not going against the set tactics.

Megan: If Kevin de Bruyne went against a Pep formation in a City game, it is probably the right choice and Pep would not tell him off later.

Natalie: He might, you know.

Megan: Well, it would depend on if it worked. And knowing Kevin, it probably would. But I doubt Pep would let him make a habit of it.

Natalie: True, but they always talk about how psychic Pep is anyway, that they’re like…. “It’s crazy, he will say exactly what’s going to happen in the beats of the match for the other team AND THEN IT DOES.” So he makes very accurate predictions that the team follows, and then they win. He’s a freak. Jamie could be a creative playmaker, in the long run, now the team understands that it’s for their benefit and they’re all on the same side and not just him stealing glory. There’s some of that in the understanding he has with Roy, about the prick stuff that Ted doesn’t fully follow. But in general, yeah, I’m thinking more about players being locked into tactics, whether that’s retaining possession or high pressing or what. And the players being like “I just want to do XYZ and I know I can do it and I am feeling hobbled.” I am sure Roy has gone his own way once or twice.

Megan: Oh yes, 100%.

Natalie: And that rogue stuff works if you’re a bit psychic with your teammates, and have amazing spatial sense. Like if you do this, you know so and so will come up in your space to do that, that the’ve got you. Or if you have a bit of a psychic relationship with the manager, no time to stop play, but a few looks and hand signals.

Megan: And also if you know the opposition well, and can predict what they’re likely to do.

Natalie: The point is, checking on how the team feel and what will work best for them, so directly, in this specific way, it would not be all that common.

Megan: No, hence the surprise.

Natalie: Ted is a very down to earth person, but in a football club there is usually more distance, more a power and authority dynamic, between the manager and players. Opinions are not always asked and not always welcome. I am sure many do incorporate ideas from players in the long run, in fact I know they do, things developed in training and so on. But yeah, this is not what the guys expected, and I love that it’s Jan who steps up.

Megan: Agreed! Especially because they all know he would not lie to them. But he just sounds very confident, very calm, and still has a classic moment of perhaps too much radical honesty with Zoreaux.

Natalie: As you said, they’re so shocked to be considered, to be given any sort of ownership over their actions, and that is the biggest difference between Roy and Nate. Roy has an extreme amount of compassion for the players as individuals and Nate is now fully dehumanising them. Not dehumanising players is why Roy left Sky Sports.

Megan: Oh yeah, I’d never sort of thought of it in those terms, but that is exactly right.

Natalie: Coach the person, not the player, is Roy’s main approach. No matter how gruffly he does it. It’s Ted’s too, but he focuses maybe too much on the person without knowing how to help the player improve their game. But the person over player psychology is huge for Richmond. It’ll be interesting to see if Nate ever switches to that tactic at West Ham.

Megan: I see a lot of people discussing online who the best coach is, Nate or Ted. Whether it’s Nate’s strategy or Ted’s ability to get the best out of people that is the most effective. But I honestly think Roy will end up being a perfect combination of the two. He knows the strategy and tactics and all the plays because he’s done them! He just needs to shift that player mentality and get more confident about making calls about what to do. And he knows how to get the best out of a person — you see it with Colin and with Isaac this season, and with Jamie too. He just needs to get better at softening his gruffness when needed and maybe get over the shouting and shoving that is common as a player but less great as a manager. Not that Mikel Arteta has gotten that memo.

Natalie: Don’t talk about that man right now.

Megan: I’d like to never think about him, let alone talk about him, so yes, okay!

Natalie: Indeed. They all agree to proceed with “Nate’s False Nine,” again hammering home that it was his plan. Before the match he was all “You’d be fools not to,” now he’s absolutely furious that they’re carrying on with it and, I guess in his mind, sure to lose. But the team is fired up and ready to go back out there and win. And instead of joining the hands-in huddle, Isaac wades through them all to instead touch the Believe sign.

That fucking sign, man. It’s so simple and could have been so cheesy. It really could have been SUCH a tacky ongoing device for the show, but they use it so earnestly. And this is obviously such a moving moment for the audience and for Ted, to see that faith in all he’s tried to bring to the group so fully felt. A couple of things that always stand out to me here — the fact that Jamie is the first one after the captain to do it, and also the fact that he immediately looks around at Roy before going over, despite Roy still blanking him from earlier. And then of course Nate audibly sighing and rolling his eyes. Will’s adorable, proud, loving face watching them. And Ted, when it cuts back to him once they’ve all gotten their hands on it. He is overwhelmed.

Megan: All those points really stand out to me as the key ones. Isaac going first obviously makes sense, but I love Jamie going second, and the framing of the scene with Roy watching him, you can almost see another few bricks in the Jamie-shaped wall that Roy has built crumble.

Natalie: It’s such a tiny moment, but it’s so loud to me.

Megan: It really says so much.

Natalie: Why do you think Jamie looks at him then? I don’t think it’s defiant, like “See, I’m a good boy.” I also don’t think it’s for approval. It’s a secret third thing.

Megan: No, I think it’s something else. But what, I cannot say.

Natalie: I just think maybe, ultimately, Roy is who he wants to share these feelings with.

Megan: Yeah. This whole season, since Roy coming back, Jamie has really been trying to have a relationship of some kind with him. Maybe the kind he might have wanted when he first came to Richmond on loan, when Roy was his new captain, if both of them had been in a more receptive place.

Natalie: I could talk about this a lot more than we will today, but the hero worship element is so huge for them, that being in this together with Roy, doing something so big together, I think it’s hard to truly frame how much it would mean to Jamie as a footballer.

Megan: Yeah, I really agree.

Natalie: I think he also sees him as like, just a very frustrating man, also.

Megan: Yes! Understandably to be honest.

Natalie: But honestly, the fact that no one else looks at each other then, just Jamie swinging his head around to Roy then Roy nodding appreciatively when he moves forward to the sign… There is some level of approval seeking to it, but it’s not just that. Those two are totally off in their own world sometimes. I don’t claim to understand them even though they’re literally all I think about.

Megan: Hahaha, very much the same.

Natalie: They’re just weird about each other. That’s the whole plot for them.

Megan: Very concise and accurate.

Natalie: They are going to be weirder about each other later, but I would love Ted Lasso season 3 to have someone say “You two are fucking unhinged when it comes to one another, are you even aware of that?” And Roy’s like “No!” but Jamie’s like “Yep.”

Megan: I would love that, and my instinct is it will be Keeley. Or Ted. But my vote goes to Keeley.

Natalie: I think Beard.

Megan: Oh, also a good shout!

Natalie: This is such a tiny part, and obviously we will hyper-fixate on all such tiny parts because I’m not even going to pretend to be objective about loving all characters equally. Anything at all involving Jamie is going to have me inspecting the molecules of air he breathes in a scene. But the actual key part here is Nate. Do you have any memory of where you were at about Nate at this point when you first watched it? I was feeling fairly stressed about him all season, I saw a lot of the discourse being like what is going on, and I was sure it was intentional. But this Believe worshipping was his breaking point. Do you recall what you expected to happen? And if not, just generally, why was this the moment he truly turned?

Megan: So I was feeling pretty on edge with Nate fairly early on in season 2 thanks to his treatment of Will, and his comments about reminding Dani who pays his wages. And that made me reframe some of his season 1 behaviour too. I don’t think I expected the exact things he said to Ted in that speech, but I knew an explosion was coming. And then that moment in particular, seeing the whole team so united, and him just feeling utterly incapable of joining in and being a part of it, combined with the fear that they’ll lose and he’ll get the blame, was just the final straw. He couldn’t bring himself to be a part of it.

Natalie: There’s really nothing about Nate that I understand, and honestly nothing that I empathise with in this situation. I feel like if Brett Goldstein or someone ever reads this thread they’ll be so mad at me. I just saw yet another new interview where Brett expressed shock about the response to Nate, that he says they as writers understand how Nate got here and how at the end of season 2 they feel sorry for him, heartbroken for him, and just want to give him a hug. I’m sorry, Brett, but I just don’t agree. Like we said earlier, it’s all because he’s so deluded. His perception is so warped. He is not being treated badly in this scenario, at all, and I can’t quite imagine a level of past trauma that would in any way explain this level of behaviour to people who literally only want good things for him and who have trusted and loved him. It certainly wouldn’t excuse it. But to me I struggle to see how it could even explain it.

Stripping it down to the bare bones, it is all about Nate’s perception of himself and what people are going to think of him. He’s incredibly swayed by outside validation, like the social media stuff, but I do not understand what anyone at Richmond has done, well, specifically what Ted has done, to even give Nate a single idea that would equal the conclusion he comes to. It is quite literally delusional. It shows a warped, warped brain. And I think we are meant to know that. I’ve read Nick Mohammad’s explainer about clues to Nate’s downfall and the things Nate has been taking issue with, including no Ted and Nate one-on-one time, and I see and I understand all the things that have been done to heighten Nate’s perception in that way, to make him feel neglected, make him feel attacked. I recognise what he is thinking, but they are not reasonable things. They’re not MEANT to be reasonable things.

Nate has twisted himself into a pretzel trying to find a worst case scenario that just does not exist in real life. He is quite literally making up things to be upset about, because the reality is he’s well-liked and his ideas are respected, by Ted and the team and the media. He latches on to anything that in some way sets him apart, like the tweets saying the wonder kid should manage his own team — something that says he’s better than Ted. But he cannot accept or believe gestures of genuine love or genuine respect. And this is why it’s so hard to tolerate him, and so hard to accept the idea of a redemption, because he did this knowingly but with a level of utter and complete delusion that we as the audience know is just fucked in the head, and it intentionally targeted our hero characters who we know haven’t done anything wrong.

The two other “traumatised villain” lead characters who have big flaws and big redemptions so far, Rebecca and Jamie, are just so different from Nate in terms of why they were hurt, who they were hurting, what caused the hurt, how they changed, and the speed at which they did so. You could say that what Rebecca did was worse than what Nate did in terms of intentionally trying to sabotage the team, not care about ruining a lot of people’s jobs and lives if Richmond folded. She hired Ted under false pretences. What she did was cruel on the broad scale to the people at AFC Richmond. Some people might say that’s worse than Nate’s actions. But I just can’t feel it that way, because Ted and the people at the club were not the real target.

Rebecca was unhinged, sure. But she did not hurt anyone’s feelings in that way. The club got relegated and people were hurt by that, absolutely. Like, that net loss is objectively worse. But in terms of emotional impact, directly from one human to another, Rebecca did not cruelly cut people down who were respecting and supporting her, or build up warped ideas about them. She absolutely did things that were cruel, but they were not personal attacks launched because she misguidedly believed that that person — Ted, in this case — screwed her over. Rupert was the target, everything else was collateral. Is that worse? Sure. I think so. But it isn’t personally upsetting in terms of how she sees Ted, not the way that Nate being absolutely twisted about everyone who has been good to him is.

Jamie doesn’t even compare to Nate or Rebecca, honestly. He was only “bad,” like properly difficult, for maybe four and a half episode’s worth of screen time in season 1, all told. He has issues with Ted in episode 2 “Biscuits,” but also a very sympathetic moment with him, there’s the thing about him egging on Colin and Isaac to mess with Nate in “Trent Crimm: The Independent,” which is more about getting Roy to captain people – interestingly, and I’m not claiming he wasn’t a dick, but we never see Jamie mess with Nate himself, just laughing at the others and making one or two comments, and Roy’s angle is to to tell Jamie to step up and control his mates, not to stop picking on Nate himself. That always stood out to me.

His personal issues with Roy come to a head in episode 4, “For The Children,” but again, they’re made quite sympathetic and headed towards resolution, but then he has that big blow up with Ted in episode 5. So he has a bad attitude for some scenes during the first half of season 1, it melts away relatively fast, then he actually becomes the biggest collateral of Rebecca’s actions in “Two Aces.” I don’t think Jamie’s redemption is even comparable in this case, and I’m not just saying that because I’m partial to him. It isn’t meant to be the same level at all. But Nate, doing this after two full seasons of nothing but love and support… It’s just shit.

Related: ‘Ted Lasso’ composer Tom Howe on creating the white noise of Ted’s anxiety, the rawness of Jamie’s heart, and the warning of Nate’s descent

Megan: Another angle for me, with the Rebecca and Nate comparison especially, is that the Nate stuff just feels way more personally relatable in terms how awful being on the receiving end of that would feel. Like yes, Rebecca’s actions have a bigger tangible impact on people, but for me, watching it, I have personally never worked for or been a fan of a football club that, due to an unhinged owner out for revenge, got sabotaged and relegated.

But the way Nate mistreats people will be so relatable to a lot of viewers. The way he bullies Will and Colin is really spiteful and malicious— so many people will have experienced that kind of treatment. The way he acts towards and about women is something that a lot of women, myself included, have experienced, so that will impact them. I have anxiety and depression and I don’t mind speaking about it openly but there are a lot of people who do still feel like they can’t talk about it, so watching Nate “out” Ted’s mental health to the press will again feel really relatable and upsetting.

I’ve seen some people say that it’s the fact that Nate tore up the sign that makes fans hate him so much, but I think that really minimises his continuously shitty behaviour. So yeah, as we’ve already said, I know Ted Lasso will give him a redemption arc, it’s the kind of show it is. But for me, I don’t know that I will personally be able to accept it for the character based on what he’s done across the first two seasons.

Natalie: There’s also the fact that aside from the people who found out – Ted and Keeley, who did not really even seem terribly upset, and also Higgins a bit – Rebecca’s actions did not personally offend or traumatise the people that they affected in a way they knew came from her. That isn’t exactly an excuse, but it also isn’t her telling the players, or the Richmond admin staff, how much she hates them and how they’re a joke or whatever. When you talk about relating to the victims of the villain’s actions… Well, I’ve not personally been collateral damage in someone else’s scheme, someone who didn’t care about who they hurt but who was not actually targeting me specifically, the way Rebecca wasn’t targeting Ted or Keeley or anyone other than Rupert. Not sure how it would feel, but the point is that most people will never ever know what Rebecca did because Ted turned out to be such a blessing. Her intent almost ceases to matter because she did a good thing by hiring Ted. Do you know what I mean? Some people may not like that angle, but…

Megan: Yeah like, the intention was bad but the impact was good. It’s the inverse of when people are like “It doesn’t matter what your intention was, the impact was bad!” Well in this case Rebecca’s intention might have been bad, but the impact was the opposite.

Natalie: Yes they got relegated. But it isn’t like they felt like they were being attacked or betrayed or sabotaged. They don’t KNOW they were being hurt in that way, they don’t feel those wounds. And then in season 2 she obviously sinks so much dedication and money into the club and helps them not stay relegated. I don’t know. I really do think this is something people won’t always agree on, but to me, Nate attacking Ted the way he did, and the lens into his personal attitude about his circumstances… it’s so much darker. And I mean, it’s just objectively wrong. The conversation he has with Ted is so demented. Why do you think TED chose this moment to give Nate the little push Beard mentioned, like go over and be like, what’s up, you’re so angry? “What have I got to learn here?”

Megan: Hmm. So earlier in the episode, he talks about letting people come to him. In that moment, that big unifying moment…Nate literally walks away from them all. In that moment, it is so clear that Nate is not going to be coming to Ted, not voluntarily, and I think Ted just accepts that if he’s going to do his job right now, if he’s going to stick to his promise of not letting people who are hurting get by him, he has to go and speak to Nate. And I think in that moment too Ted feels so touched by Isaac’s gesture, he wants to bring Nate along with him, wants Nate to feel like he’s part of it too. Only for Nate to make it abundantly clear that that will not be happening any time soon.

Natalie: I honestly cannot think of a single part of Nate’s rant to Ted that has any truth to it aside from the part, horribly as he said it, about Ted neglecting his son. I think that part is utterly true, and a big issue for Ted. One that Ted isn’t looking at head on, but is tied to his panic attacks. We know Henry is a big trigger for Ted. That was a home truth that Ted will deal with in season 3.

Megan: And here’s the thing. Even that. Yes, he did leave his son behind, but there are plenty of parents whose work takes them away from their kids for long periods of time. That in and of itself is not a uniquely Ted issue. The issue is, of course, that this is obviously something Ted already agonises over, and Nate says it because he wants to cut Ted to the bone.

Natalie: Yes. But for me it was more like… I’ve seen some opinions that suggest Ted leaving Henry behind is unfortunate but incidental, that he’s meant to be a great dad, that Ted Lasso is skimming over how shit that was of him to do as a father — especially as Ted left quickly, as a panic response. And that we as the audience are not meant to worry about it? This moment tells me that no, the show knows. They’re not hand-waving and being like Ted is a great perfect dad. He is a good dad! But they know this is an issue.

Megan: Oh yeah, I think fans who want Ted to stay in England at the end of the show are very like “Oh it’s fine, he can go visit Henry in the offseason!” But it is very clear that would not be okay with Ted!

Natalie: No, that is absolutely not where it’s building. He has to go back to Kansas. And this moment proves that Ted Lasso knows it. But everything else… We see some obvious things that Nate is warped about. The photo is the best example. He doesn’t know Ted has it at home on his dresser, sure. But he assumes the worst, he assumes this lack of care. We as the audience know it’s the opposite. But honestly, I don’t know if this is me being pedantic, but when Nate cuts into Ted about how he is a joke but Nate earned this position and that he belongs here… Ted agrees with him but I do not. That is such a delusion of grandeur!

He did not earn the right to coach. Licenses aside, that’s a fucking weird thing to say because kit man to coach is not a career progression! It isn’t like being a writer’s assistant on a TV show, with the aim and somewhat of a known trajectory to work up to writer. This isn’t a thing! Nate getting that job was 100% down to Ted’s unorthodox approach and his belief in Nate. Nate did not earn that role by any normal standard in the football industry. On any level. By any measure. He never played the game. He never trained as a coach professionally or even coached children. He’s just a fanboy with delusions.

Megan: I 100% agree. Honestly, Ted also isn’t technically qualified with the right licences, and he has little understanding of the sport, but he does at least know how to coach and train people to get the best out of them and to motivate them. Nate does understand football tactics and positions, yes. You can’t argue with that, he’s shown he has that knowledge. But if he had applied for the role of assistant coach at any Premier League or Championship team or even lower tiers, at the end of season 1, he wouldn’t even have gotten an interview.

Natalie: The sense of entitlement he has is just… oof. And the fact he feels so superior to the players. I’m not saying he should feel inferior, but it’s like I said, he can’t hang. He has no chill. No balance. He never feels like he’s surrounded by peers, just inferiors or superiors. Even when both the players try to banter with him, or the coaches show him full respect. It feels almost like he’s worked there for years silently brewing on his supergenius and how stupid everyone else is and if only it were all up to him… So when he gets the job he’s like “Yes. This is correct.”

Megan: “Finally my time has come to be in charge.” Another element of this conversation that makes me want to grab Nate by shoulders and tell him to get a grip is around his expectations of the attention he should be getting from Ted. Because at the end of the day, Ted is his boss! He isn’t his father, he isn’t his peer, he is his boss. Yes, he is a very kind, compassionate boss who makes a lot of time for his employees. Yes, he definitely has paid Nate less attention this season— but even so, Nate knows why at this stage. He knows Ted has been going through mental health issues.

And rather than learning that at Wembley Stadium and thinking, “Oh shit. You know what, yeah, I’d been feeling a bit pissed off that Ted hadn’t been spending as much time with me, but if he’s going through that, I get it!” he instead takes it personally. But all of that aside, at the end of the day, Ted is his boss and I think the level of anger Nate has over how much attention he is and isn’t getting from Ted right now — a man with a lot of people demanding his attention — is very self involved, to say the least.

Natalie: When he says that stuff about Ted making him feel like the most important person in the world and then abandoning him…. Yeah. It’s catastrophically needy in the most delusional way. All this adds up to Nate having zero self worth, that he only feels anything when it comes from others validation. The internet, Rupert. He will go to whoever makes him feel the most special. Ethics be damned. And I just… There’s low self esteem, and then there’s this. I can’t empathise with this level of delusion when it comes to low self esteem.

Megan: Even aside from Ted’s own personal issues, he has an entire coaching staff to manage, a team of eleven starters and many reserve players, Rebecca to answer to, the many many other people around the club with demands on his time and attention. There are just not enough hours in the day for him to give Nate all the attention he seems to want here.

Natalie: It is an absolutely unreasonable demand and I feel so bad that Ted feels any blame or like he’s failed here. Because this is absolutely on Nate.

Megan: Yup.

Natalie: This is mad. I cannot imagine how Nate would go about apologising for all this stuff. There’s only so far “I didn’t mean it” goes and also, he absolutely means it. It would have to come from a place of like… “I see now that I was fucked in the head and utterly unreasonable. I am ashamed of ever believing that, I can see how warped my brain was.” Because my God, it’s just… I’ve said it so many times, but delusional. The perception he has about what’s been done to him, it just isn’t right. And we all know that. Which is why it’s so hard to have any sympathy for. I do not want to give him a hug. To put it mildly.

Megan: “I was so full of self hatred that I turned it outwards and just wanted to hurt people and make them feel as bad as I did. That was really wrong of me, and I will do whatever needs to be done to make amends.” That I would accept. That level of realisation. I won’t accept something that tries to say it wasn’t Nate’s fault, or that nothing he did was that bad.

Natalie: He’s so sure that Ted is getting ready to gleefully blame the loss on him. That the players will fuck up the false nine and that Ted will get to tell everyone how Nate failed. Those sorts of things show you that this man is not operating in reality. He is not taking people for who they are, at all. To think Ted would do something like that says nothing about Ted and everything about Nate. But it still does not make me feel sorry for him. You can literally always choose to not be a dick and our other “baddies” respond to the good treatment from Ted and the team by choosing to no longer be dicks. This is the opposite.

Megan: Nothing Ted has ever done to date should make Nate feel like that is how Ted will act if the team loses. And here’s the thing. You know I don’t think Ted is perfect, you know I think he fucked up with Jamie in season 1. But I know Ted would never blame anyone but himself in the case of a loss.

Natalie: No. Nate is totally off in his own world here. He’s so ready to be attacked, turned on. And we know as the audience how far from the truth it is. I do wonder if any of it is that he already knows he has the West Ham job and is going to leave no matter what, and is so conflicted about what he wants that no exit from Richmond would be the right one. I’m unsure if that’s the case, but he’s also so angry when the false nine works. He is so mad when they start to win.

Megan: Yeah, like, if they lost and Ted blamed him would Rupert take away the job offer? If they win and Richmond goes up, does it make the West Ham gig feel more tense and loaded for him? There’s no outcome that will make him happy because nothing will make him happy.

Natalie: When Ted walks in to check on Nate, Nate is actually checking his phone. Probably social media, but could be Rupert. Like he walks off, and is kind of teary, stressed, and checking his phone. Then Ted comes in.

Megan: Yeah, both equally feasible.

Natalie: Him reacting badly to them winning COULD be immediate shame. Like “Oh I did all that to Ted, but he actually does believe in me, and we actually are winning. I’ve got it all wrong.” But instead of apologising, he turns that into aggression and leaves. Doubles down on his negativity. Because Nate is truly upset to lose Ted’s favour, he’s nearly crying at the start of their talk.

Megan: Yeah, he can’t walk it back, he feels like he’s burnt his bridge and doesn’t believe Ted could forgive him.

Natalie: But it’s all so twisted!

Megan: Yes! Argh!

Natalie: And because of all Nate’s past actions, I’m like… “Do you even care about Ted as a person and think he’s good and want to be GOOD? Is there any goodness in you? Or is it just all about validation? And now you’re going to where the validation is, ethics aside?” Choosing the path where he feels biggest, regardless of whether that’ll make him a good or a bad person. It very much could be like, “I’ve spoiled any chance at true goodness so may as well commit.” But like… it’s very hard to deal with.

Megan: Well, with all of the above, at least no-one can say the only reason we dislike Nate is a ripped up sign! But God, that’s the hardest part, it’s so twisted that it’s so hard to know why he makes the final decision, and it’s so hard for me to conceive of any reason that would justify his actions to date.

Natalie: I don’t think they’re justifiable, or meant to be. But I can’t imagine empathising with whatever the explanation is. Not when we’ve seen him be so out of pocket, and make such a direct personal betrayal.

Megan: No, neither.

Natalie: People can be very fucked up even if their trauma is not “that bad.” I am sure we will learn a lot. But I’m fairly sure I’ll be like… “Nope.” I can take a good apology, for sure. But not an excuse. And I’m particularly sensitive about bad-faith perceptions, or accusations of motive that just are not true, the way he acted with Ted.

Megan: Yeah. Like I’ve said, I can see a decent well-written apology, I can see Ted forgiving him, others too. But me personally? Eh. I think it’ll take a lot for that.

Natalie: The way he makes it about Ted and all the people who are good to him… Sorry to bring it back to Jamie, but in season 1, he makes some statements about Ted that are unfair about his motive. Jamie is hurt that Ted ended his loan. Because. He thinks. Ted ended. His loan. He didn’t want to be sent away. Jamie’s thoughts about Ted come from misinformation. He has reason to think Ted has those motives, in fact he has no other option to believe because the truth of it is actually deranged, and Jamie has no reason to be aware of what Rebecca did.

Megan: Jamie really took a big step to trying to be a part of the team, to join in and embrace it. And then as far as he can see, he took that step and then immediately got kicked to the curb. He has no reason to think it was anyone other than Ted, and it sent him back to a situation that, thanks to his dad, was so shitty that he quit football for a while!

Natalie: I was reminded of this because of Keeley saying, “Not everyone in your life is out to get you.” Which you could say to Nate! But Nate is seeing all these things and making up his own ideas about them despite actual evidence! Anyway, can we switch tracks now and talk about things that are actually nice, like Jamie, and football, because while Nate is sitting there angry that they’re doing well, we’ve got one of the most wonderful football sequences of Ted Lasso going on.

Megan: I am very happy to switch back to pleasant things. I really love all the football sequences in this show, and this scene is beat only by “The Signal.”

Natalie: I have watched this clip of the match scenes so many times that I know the commentary off my heart. At least 30 times, if not more, as I mentioned at the start of the chat. “Good pressure from Rojas… That’s lovely from Tartt…” Sam manages to score and then they’re only one goal away from a draw, which will see them get that second place in the table promotion slot. And then, we get to injury time. “All they need is one moment of individual brilliance, Arlo.” “Can they find it in time?”

Megan: You know what, I think they just might.

Natalie: This slo-mo moment of that gorgeous first touch from Jamie, and then the foul… Do I need to explain first touch, do you think?

Megan: For the sake of our friends who wanted these articles to include football explainers, maybe you should.

Natalie: Fair enough. A first touch in football is just when a player receives the ball for the first time, not overall in the match, but their first contact from a particular pass. How they stop the ball travelling and start to control it. With an aerial ball like this one, it’s often a matter of catching it somehow on some part of the body and then dropping it to the ground to start dribbling. I love that this shot uses an angle where you can see Phil Dunster do this properly with the top of his foot, likely with no CGI. Now, would YOU like to explain why this foul on Jamie is different to the one in “The Signal?”

Megan: Oh go on then. So in “The Signal,” Jamie is drawing a foul. He intentionally goads the Spurs player, Barnett, into committing an offence that gives Richmond the advantage. Jamie nutmegs him — kicks the ball between his legs and gets it back again, a move that’s considered humiliating to let happen to you if you’re the defender — and then travels with the ball towards a specific position on the pitch he knows he can work with, knowing that Barnett will chase him down, likely be pissed off, and hopefully foul him, which will earn Jamie a free kick from a place he’s effectively picked out to take a shot on goal from.

In comparison, in the Brentford match Jamie isn’t trying to get fouled. He has a genuine chance to score but the goalkeeper dives at his legs, and while he’s going for the ball he essentially trips Jamie, knocking him down and fouling him before he could take the shot.

Natalie: Gotta say, I’m not 100% sure that shouldn’t be a booking for the goalkeeper. Jamie is still dribbling, the goalie getting between the player’s legs like that to grab the ball before he has released his shot? But I do not know enough about goalkeeper-specific offences.

Megan: It’s hit or miss. Honestly a card for a goalie can have such severe consequences that I do think they try and save it for really intentional and undeniable fouls, and often a penalty is punishment enough given the very likely outcome is a goal being scored.

Natalie: Jamie’s well inside the box, so I don’t know, maybe this is allowed if they don’t touch the player. But him being inside the box is also what differentiates the advantage he gets. As mentioned, the award given to Richmond in “The Signal ” due to Jamie being fouled is a free kick. He gets the chance to have play stopped and restart again with his kick, which is taken from the point of the foul. That far back, usually he would pass to someone else, but of course he goes for the goal and scores.

With a free kick, defenders are allowed to get between the player and the goal and just be ready to start play again, though. A similar foul inside the penalty box means a penalty, which is taken from the fixed penalty spot right in front of the goal, with no interference between the taker and the goalkeeper. No one else is allowed to be in the space. Jamie is fouled inside the box, ergo a penalty kick. I would hope people watching Ted Lasso, already knew that by now but you never know!

Megan: Another small football aside that I find ironic, post 2022 World Cup – Jamie starts his run after a pass from Jan Maas that the commentators describe as “a long ball from the Dutchman.” This makes me laugh because after the extremely heated Argentina v Netherlands match which ultimately saw the Netherlands being knocked out, Lionel Messi complained to the press that the Dutch team’s tactic was just “putting tall people and playing long balls,” so on a rewatch I enjoy hearing Jan’s pass being described in this way. Anyway, back to Jamie, the cuts to Keeley and Roy both screaming “referee!” makes my throuple-desiring heart sing!

Natalie: They’re so mad! Keeley’s little fists!

Megan: You can’t hurt Jamie! He’s theirs!

Natalie: Also, they need to be promoted. But yes.

Megan: Okay yes that too, probably more important, and the actual reason.

Natalie: Every time I watch this sequence I wonder just how much the coaches are shitting themselves when Jamie hands the penalty off to Dani. He took an IMMENSE risk here for the sake of his bro. Outwardly they’re encouraging towards Dani, but holy shit, I would be losing my mind. The conflict Ted and Roy must feel between the gesture and the risk.

Megan: Obviously none of them are going to step forward and say “Oh hey, umm actually Jamie, maybe you take this one yeah?” because that would crush Dani. But God, they must be freaking the fuck out. On the one hand, just really very proud of Jamie. On the other hand, they do kind of need that goal. It is quite crucial.

Natalie: What I love about this is that they almost didn’t need it. Jamie is redeemed. They did not need this last gesture to sell it. But they did it anyway, just to really hammer home the level they’re wanting to elevate this character to. And of course to close off the season for Dani, after the dog incident. But it’s more about Jamie than Dani, because Jamie is a lead character and Dani is not.

Megan: And Jamie isn’t doing it for any reason other than because he knows how much it’ll mean to Dani, and he has complete and utter faith in his muchacho. He knows Dani’s got this, and he’s completely shaken off any and all influence his dad ever had on him now. He knows he doesn’t have to be the one chasing glory. And as a very shallow aside, if his outfit at the start of this episode is one of my favourites for him, his hair in this shot as he is staring at the goal and breathing heavily is possibly my favourite there too. He looks very good, and he’s being very good. Love that for him and for me.

Natalie: Yeah, since the funeral he stopped using the headband and moved to that side part and it is stunning. Also, very low down in the mix, they thread Jamie’s Sad Good Boy song into the score when he hands the ball off, which I spoke to composer Tom Howe about last year.

Megan: Probably not the official track title, but it should be.

Natalie: No, LOL, it’s called “Leaving the Studio” on the score soundtrack. They REALLY want people to love Jamie. I would go as far as to say he is the only lead in season 2 who has a straight upward trajectory. He has a low point with his dad, but it isn’t his own flaw or backsliding.

Megan: He doesn’t really put a foot wrong. Even the funeral scene is earnest and soft and says good things about who he is as a person, even if it had a somewhat chaotic impact.

Natalie: Ted, Rebecca, Roy, Keeley all have ups and downs, bad behaviour, big missteps. Jamie is just on the rise. I appreciate their dedication to his arc because after season 1 people did look at me funny when I was like, my favourite character is Jamie by a fair margin. And now I’m like SEE?

Megan: You knew, you could tell where he was going and you were not wrong.

Natalie: Anyway, it’s very good, and he loves Dani so much, and even in this moment where it would be Jamie’s right to have that “moment of individual brilliance,” it comes in this unexpected way. No one would hold it against him if he did take that shot. Everyone would be very pleased with him. And yet he knows if Dani can do it, it’ll mean more to Dani and to the team. And he wasn’t even there for Dani’s yips!

Megan: No! But he knows about it, and he wants to help drive away any remaining wisps of it. I love the camera then panning to Rebecca and Keeley and Higgins looking nervous yet hopeful, and then the crowd looking the same.

Natalie: And Mae!

Megan: Jamie might feel confident, everyone else is a little more wobbly.

Natalie: I think Jamie also looks fucking terrified actually. He looks nervous, despite his decision. Which is fair. He could have just fucked up very badly.

Megan: I think he thinks it’s the right choice, but it’s still very nerve wracking. I know we hate the dog plotline in general. But! When the camera shows the moment Dani looks over and sees the new puppy, the way he smiles… I genuinely tear up and and get a bit goosebumpy every time. It’s just a really beautiful smile. I don’t think that does it justice actually. He looks so peaceful and calm when he looks over and sees the adorable, unethical baby. His dimples and his crinkly eyes.

Natalie: It is so cute.

Megan: It’s a lot.

Natalie: Stupid puppy.

Megan: In its stupid helmet.

Natalie: Ugh, I do agree but ugh. It’s SO cute.

Megan: Yeah. Anyway, it turns out I am someone who, when I am watching football and my team scores, silently punches the air like I’m in The Breakfast Club or something. And when my fictional team scores, it is no different. Because Dani softly says “futbol is life,” scores a beautiful penalty, and every time I punch the air and get excited all over again. Urgh.

Natalie: Roy hugging the totally immobile Nate when the whistle goes always chills me because I cannot wait to see how Roy reacts to the Nate thing but am also so worried about it. He’s going to be SO angry.

Megan: He is going to feel so betrayed, and he is going to take it personally.

Natalie: Roy ultimately is a person with very pure, very big, very uncomplicated emotions. He is “complicated,” but he sort of just has these massive base emotions. Not a ton of nuance. He loves Nate and thinks the world of him, so I feel like his response will be pretty wholehearted hate.

Megan: And a really strong sense of right and wrong and responsibility.

Natalie: I’m cool with Roy not forgiving Nate. Roy is so loyal, I’m not sure it’s in him to do so.

Megan: He actually is pretty forgiving though. When Keeley apologises at the gala in season 1 he immediately forgives her, he forgives Jamie because of his apology for the funeral confession, even if it’s a bit less immediate, and a bit more aggressively sorted. So if Nate’s apology was genuine enough, maybe he would forgive him. But maybe it’s easier for Roy to forgive when he’s the wronged party. He might struggle to forgive him for hurting Ted. How do you feel about Roy picking Moe up? Is your happiness about the promotion briefly interrupted by worry for Roy’s knee?

Natalie: I’m mainly like… “That’s a proper footballer, that is.” Ted Lasso is less cuddly than real football, one of its only massive flaws. Not enough touchy feely between the guys. And there is still a fair amount!

Megan: Maybe because Ted previously coached college and high school kids, he’s more careful about physical contact.

Natalie: I’ve heard American sports in general don’t touch this much, especially coaches to players, so it could be why — the American audience being like… “Ummm.”

Megan: Unlike Pep, who is always clutching his player’s faces, kissing them on the cheek and making sure to give every player he subs off the pitch a cuddle and occasionally a pat on the butt for good measure.

Natalie: The Europeans are extreme, but English players and managers love to hug and smooch too. Gareth Southgate loves an honourable little cuddle.

Megan: My favourite part of a football match is the end when everyone walks around the pitch hugging and kissing each other. Sadly most broadcasters cut away from that far too early.

Natalie: But it is, and we cannot stress this enough, extremely real.

Megan: Agreed. So I do appreciate that at this moment we see a bit more of that in Ted Lasso.

Natalie: They also celebrate every goal with an amount of ridiculous affection even in training sometimes and we do see that a little on the pitch but I feel like not to the degree I’ve seen in real football. The Ted Lasso group huddles and side hugs are nothing compared to, like, Giroud and Mbappe at the World Cup.

Megan: Christ it was a lot. Putting that on my Ted Lasso season 3 wish list. More homoerotic post goal celebration cuddles. And tender forehead kisses.

Natalie: A little Haaland smooch for Jack. Club teammates are equally as affectionate as countries and yeah, I feel like if they did it the way it actually is, people would be like… “What?” But I would be happy.

Megan: So happy. And you know what, I’ve seen this cast on the red carpet together. I feel confident they would be only too happy to oblige.

Natalie: Roy picking up Moe just seemed extremely normal to me because I think Roy has picked up, cuddled, and smooched so many players in his time that it is only right to carry on with the habit. I cannot admit I was thinking about his leg.

Megan: Lots more to be thinking about in this moment instead.

Natalie: Will on Dani’s back is also perfect, as is Jamie’s stupid tongue and the sheer joy he’s having with no smirk or anything to it, just little-boy joy. It’s interesting because you actually do not see Ted hug any players. He hugs Beard in the background, but I do think he has boundaries about touching players. That is just extremely American of him.

Megan: I really do agree.

Natalie: Roy does not have those boundaries.

Megan: He does not.

Natalie: God, he’s so stupid but I’m obsessed with him. Because Jamie is obviously so thrilled and wants to go to him, and this is all coming after Roy, despite forgiving Jamie (not that he told Jamie that he did!) blanked him before the match. Roy was encouraging all the players and hyping them up with affirmations and when Jamie reached out to him for his hype, Roy fully ignored him. It’s so dumb and Jamie is so cute and sad about it.

Megan: His little puppy dog eyes, sad head tilt, and self fist bump is just too much.

Natalie: The self-fist-bump. Poor Jamie.

Megan: You see Jamie zero in on Roy here even before he starts to move over to him, while Roy is interacting with Isaac. He locks eyes on Roy, and starts moving towards him, arm out ready to celebrate and at least shake hands.

Natalie: I think what this moment proves is that above all these two WANT to be close to each other. They want it so much. They’re just fucking idiots. Roy doing that headbutt, which Jamie is so indignant about — it’s all in the phrasing. “What did you do that for?” “SO I could do this.” It’s like Roy needs to get the issue out of the way once and for all so he can go back to liking Jamie and wanting to be close to him.

And this is why I think that with the whole Keeley thing, part of it for Roy is angry that Jamie put a hurdle between them. It’s not just about “You did this with my girlfriend.” It’s also “You did this to ME, you hurt me, you created a new problem for you and I when we were getting to a good place.” Just that word so, in “So I can do this,” gives me such an impression of that. Like “Fuck you for giving me a reason to be upset with you again. I don’t WANT to. So here. I’m doing this and it’s done. Now come here, because you are the person I want to be with among all this.”

Megan: Yes! Part of it really feels like Roy had started to think he and Jamie were okay, were going to be friends, and then when he heard about the funeral he probably felt stupid, like Jamie had tried to pull one over on him and he hates feeling stupid or like he’s been made a fool of. And of course Jamie apologises, so he knows that isn’t the case. But he’s still mad that Jamie’s actions made him think that! So in typical footballer fashion he foregoes using his words with a physical demonstration.

Natalie: That factor of it makes the most sense for what Roy did here. He knows that he cares about Jamie and he knows that Jamie worships him. And they probably still annoy the fuck out of each other, but I think it has to be like, obviously the whole “You trying to steal my girlfriend” thing is real, but it’s worse because it’s this person with this history, not some random dude. Very much “I thought we were cool.” Roy’s way of making them cool again is so dumb though. But it’s so funny.

Megan: So stupid, but also so true to footballers. What you said before about Jamie not being scared of Roy’s threats — this is another example, because even if Jamie has faced real physical abuse elsewhere, this kind of roughhousing is fairly normal for footballers. They are extra-physical all the time, both shoving around the opposition on the pitch, and playing stupid games with his friends during training. They show affection by hitting each other! Idiots! He would be so used to it, and barely think about it as violence. This isn’t friendly, and Roy needs to remember that he’s a coach now and not still a player, but Jamie’s not actually upset about it, or even particularly intimidated.

Natalie:No, Jamie isn’t too bothered by the headbutt at all! He is just so confused why Roy is doing it, like “What the fuck do you want now?”

Megan: Yes! Like, confused, a little indignant.

Natalie: Jamie is such a great talker that I wish he would just tell Roy to fucking talk properly.

Megan: I like to imagine sometime later that evening when they’re both extremely drunk, Jamie maybe tells Roy to use his words next time. But the second Roy pulls him for the hug he just goes easily and looks so happy.

Natalie: He melts in slow motion, like it isn’t actually slow motion like the match, but it’s the best, lopsided, slow spreading smile, just how he realises what is actually happening to him.

Megan: And Roy’s little face-tuck into Jamie’s neck is delightful.

Natalie: Nuzzling is very true to football. Great accuracy.

Megan: Excellent realism. Ten out of ten, no notes. In the aftermath, Nate walks off alone of course, he does not celebrate, and Ted discovers the destroyed Believe sign. We know from the trailer that the sign is back, the original one taped up, so it seems like Ted is not going to tell anyone how bad Nate’s departure was. I’m sure he isn’t going to share the conversation they had, or the fact Nate did that.

Megan: I don’t think he’ll share it widely, I do think he’ll probably tell Beard. I could be wrong there, but I think he might. At least a summary.

Natalie: Him discovering this so sadly when the team is singing and dancing on the benches, Jan Maas draped over Roy, just a joyful party atmosphere… Poor Ted. There’s so much aftermath for each person to deal with.

Megan: And then there’s Edwin, who, I confess, I forget about every single time at this point in the episode. Higgins shows up looking a little nervous and says Sam’s name and every single time I’m all, “Ohh. Oh yeah. That guy.”

Natalie: He could have given Sam more than ten minutes to celebrate. He’s just like, “Okay, match is over, you’re coming right?”

Megan: Yeah like, “Okay that’s out the way, what a relief, come join me in my helicopter. Put on your ugly new kit and let’s get out of here.”

Natalie: Nothing could have prepared me for Edwin’s response to Sam turning him down. It is… a lot.

Megan: It is so so much, but you know what, it’s a blessing in disguise really. Because Sam, watching that… Well, let’s just say I don’t think he’s going to spend any time second guessing his decision.

Natalie: Absolutely, If he had said yes and then this guy had turned around and had a fit about something else?

Megan: Yeah, and Sam is stuck there, knowing it was the wrong choice. That would be awful. But this utterly deranged display? Perfect.

Natalie: The fact he goes straight into inter-African prejudice too. Ghana and Nigeria have issues and rivalries, but he literally calls Sam Yoruba trash. It’s like… yikes.

Megan: Right! And Sam bless him is just like, “Ohhhh. Okay, wow you are insane.” Toheeb Jimoh is so good here.

Natalie: This moment of just the most composed, decent human being in Sam, the most polite and wonderful man, and Edwin just…. Raging. Toheeb’s face is incredible.

Megan: I do love Sam’s incredulous “Medium talent?” Like the Nigerian prejudice, he doesn’t have much reaction to that. Mostly shock. But daring to suggest Sam is medium talent? Outrageous.

Natalie: But do you think his threats are going to have an impact? Or is this something we will write off as a crazy guy who will move on to the next shiny thing? The threat to Sam’s chances to play for Nigeria, the weird stuff about ruining his family home. Is this a real threat? If a billionaire told me he was going to dedicate his life to destroying me… I would have concerns.

Megan: If I’m honest, I feel like Sam calling out the Nigerian government for their corruption might play more of a factor on him being called up to the Nigerian national team. But Edwin is obviously very unhinged— and very powerful.

Natalie: I think Sam Richardson did film for season 3, but it could be he was just visiting set due to the pre existing friendship. He was at the recent Ted Lasso premiere anyway. I think some element will be revisited.

Megan: Sam himself does not seem too concerned, just frankly amused by the end of it. If we have confirmation that Richardson is in Ted Lasso season 3, I’ll start to be more concerned, but I honestly think it could go either way as to whether or not it is a genuine threat versus in the moment bluster. The thing about this scene too is it just keeps on going! You keep thinking it’s going to end and then oh no, he’s miming taking a shit on a Richmond kit. All the while Sam just stands there, watching.

Natalie: Higgins’ face watching through the door!

Megan: Yes!

Natalie: The retracted handshake from Francis! Sam is well shot of them. I love his reaction.

Megan: A perfect reaction from a perfect man.

Natalie: Obviously then Sam has to tell Rebecca. Ted and Rebecca decompressing in her office is a really nice moment, and I’m always fascinated by how Ted takes all things Rupert in stride. There’s something in particular the way he handles Rupert that always shows me how savvy Ted really is.

Megan: He is so very unfazed by Rupert, and I feel like Rupert doesn’t know how to take that. He’s used to either charming people, or upsetting them. Ted just remains very unruffled, and Rupert can’t handle it.

Natalie: In this show, there’s a lot of moments where Ted is silly and says silly things and it is a joke because he genuinely does not understand something. And there’s a lot of times where he uses that same thing to either lighten a mood or manipulate people. Not that he does that to Rebecca here, though he has before, said things that forced a real response by playing dumb. But he obviously did that massively with Rupert. Here, I like how he’s kind of just a little snarky about their run-ins now being scheduled.

Megan: Yes! Such a good sassy line.

Natalie: It means so much to Rebecca that Ted never was charmed by Rupert, because when they very first meet, Rebecca doesn’t get that Ted is only faking politeness to Rupert. She does think he’s been sucked in, and I think Rupert in general is a good barometer or good proof of how often Ted does fake his behaviour.

Megan: “For The Children” is definitely where she starts to let her guard down around Ted, and him letting her know he’s not fooled by Rupert is the key to that.

Natalie: Anyway, I’m sure we will see a lot more of this in season 3, but they’re sharing this quiet moment when Sam interrupts. He expects Rebecca but not Ted, and it’s so awkward. Sam does not know that Ted knows. And he would be so embarrassed if he did. But he handles it like a champ, saying what he wants to say.

Megan: I do love the way he confidently walks in, starting to speak to Rebecca on first name basis compared to season one when she’s always Ms Welton. Season 2 Sam is extremely gorgeous and suave. And it’s only when he realises Ted is sitting there that he gets a bit awkward, but you’re right. He could have held back, said he’s staying and left it at that. But despite Ted’s presence, he still expresses himself the way he wants — and needs— to.

Natalie: It’s interesting that Rebecca asks Ted to stay, because dealing with Sam alone will be too overwhelming. She isn’t sure what she wants to do and Ted being there will be something that forces her to hold back.

Megan: I think she doesn’t quite trust herself. She still probably thinks she can’t be dating Sam, but she maybe doesn’t trust herself to stay firm. Ted will hopefully help. Ted’s faces in this scene are very very good. He is very uncomfortable.

Natalie: Hannah Waddingham is great here too, she is so on edge and holding so much in. I think Rebecca really does love him, or knows she could very badly.

Megan: She’s just so scared. Scared to let herself love and be loved, but honestly also probably scared of being in the tabloids again. She was hurt so badly by that press in season 1. You know how much I love Sam and Rebecca and am desperate for it to be their endgame pairing. I don’t think it will be, but I really love them.

Natalie: It’s a very unfair situation, because it would be hard to pull off but the show did make it so that their connection was absolutely genuine, a mind and soul connection via Bantr. That connection was deeply locked in before they knew about the issues about who they were. Finding out doesn’t eliminate that level of bond.

Megan: Yeah I know. And yes there can be concerns about age gaps and their professional relationship. But when we as the audience know it was a genuine connection, and when they as characters know that too, I think it’s okay to decide that those aren’t an issue here.

Natalie: People don’t always track the Ted Lasso timeline too well, but they had been talking for like, months.

Megan: Yeah exactly. They are a perfect example of how Bantr’s concept can work!

Natalie: For me personally, their age and positions aren’t insurmountable because you know the connection is for the right reasons. Rebecca has not written her feelings off. She doesn’t even dump him because it’s inappropriate, she dumps him because she’s scared of getting hurt. Though the framing of the inappropriateness could obviously hurt her.

Megan: Exactly. I think the media would portray it in a negative way, because they’re dicks. But I am personally okay with it. Age gaps become suss to me if you are someone repeatedly seeking out a much younger partner— like Rupert does. Rebecca doesn’t seek Sam out, and in fact tries to leave their first date because of it.

Natalie: Yeah, in Rebecca’s case it is accidental. Some say she should have just cut a hard line, but she already halfway loved him and felt it was worth the connection. And people do work out with all kinds of weird age gaps or dynamics. It isn’t impossible, but it is very offbeat. I’m sure the show will find the right answer. Rebecca’s worries are valid, and that could be the right answer.

Megan: At the end of the day if, as an audience member, you consider Rebecca to be a good person with good morals, you kind of have to trust that she’s not taking advantage or being skeevy here. Anyway, I don’t really think they will end up together, but they do make me happy.

Natalie: Yes, right. I don’t think it’s a pairing to entirely write off as problematic, and I think if the show wanted it to persevere it could. But it likely won’t. But unlike quite a few fans, I do not think the Ted Lasso writers are morally bankrupt for even doing it as a plot. I always suspected it was him and I wanted it to be him.

Megan: Neither do I, and so did I haha.

Natalie: And I think their relationship matters. So we will see one way or another. But right now… Not sure Ted should have pushed Sam to explain why he chose to stay in this very second given he knows about them. But he does seem to do it earnestly, not as some weird tactic.

Megan: No, I think he honestly just wants to know. Alternative and much less likely theory: Ted also wants Sam and Rebecca to get back together, and he’s trying to give them a nudge.

Natalie: I wish! But no. The way this is done… I feel so awkward for them all and I love Rebecca sculling her champagne and being like, Euuuugh. Too much for her to bear. Ted is incredibly supportive.

Megan: He really is.

Natalie: Ted’s also got some stuff to work out with HIS main love interest, Trent Crimm. Who was absent from the press conference where Ted speaks more openly about his mental health and directs that controversy to a more serious place about how the sports industry handles it. Which, good for him. Now, do I think this show will end up pairing Ted and Trent together as a mutual feelings endgame couple? No. Do I think Trent is queer and in love with Ted? 100000%. I think that’s a huge part of his motive in terms of revealing the source. His personal feelings for Ted.

Megan: Those personal feelings could turn out to be just strong platonic ones of course, but I think they are romantic too. I also do not think for a second there will be any sort of romantic relationship between Ted and Trent. But I believe Trent is in love with Ted.

Natalie: At the very least, Trent has had his world rocked by Ted in a way that’s passionate and inspirational. Ted has upended him. The way he LOOKS at that man. Like he is the most interesting thing in the entire world. Is just…. ooooh, it’s so much,

Megan: He is SO fascinated by him. And they clearly chat enough for Ted to know when Trent’s daughter’s birthday is and for them to have each other’s numbers. I cannot wait to see Trent’s role in Ted Lasso season 3, and how the two of them interact. I think it’s going to be delicious.

Natalie: Trent’s entire vibe absolutely screams queer to me, and when he sees Ted at the pub, not that many people noticed this but he’s there with a guy, an equally hipster looking potentially queer guy, who he touches on the arm and is like, I’ll be a sec. When he comes over to Ted to ask about leaving the Spurs match. I am fairly sure he was on a date. I directly asked James Lance about this but it was still too early to reveal anything, but his reaction absolutely fed my ideas because he was like “That just makes me laugh and I guess the reason that makes me laugh is because there’s a truth that you’ve hit on there and until it gets revealed — I wouldn’t be laughing like this unless there was something there.” About whether Trent is gay in general or into Ted specifically. Trent pulled the pin on his own career, he turned himself in and got fired. I mean, come on.

Related: James Lance on Oscar Wilde’s heroism and the culture clash that ‘The Canterville Ghost’ and ‘Ted Lasso’ have in common

Megan: Yeah I definitely think he is styled as queer, that’s always been my vibe, and Lance’s reaction is very telling.

Natalie: I am extremely keen for more Trent and very much assume, like I wrote about in my team-up article, that he’s going to be following Ted to do a book.

Megan: I hope so, that would be a great arc for him. Not least because of the potential for him to spend a lot of time sitting down with Ted and interviewing him.

Natalie: And that is the last we see of Ted for the whole of season 2, that promise to see Trent again soon. Then, after the Brentford match, I wasn’t really expecting the ending that we got, which was time jumps. Cutting to characters moving forward through the summer break, what they’re up to. The first one being five days after the match, and it’s Roy and Keeley. Keeley is packing up her office at Richmond ahead of setting up things at her new job. Sigh.

Megan: Sigh indeed, as our fears earlier on about the future of their relationship are only amplified. Poor Roy. I don’t think he’s someone that often makes impulsive decisions like this. He did when he left the studio mid filming to join Richmond’s coaching staff, and that obviously worked out well for him, but this time is less of a success.

Natalie: It’s interesting, because Keeley is automatically thrilled, but she does not realise that the gift Roy is giving her is a six week trip. Six DAYS would maybe be fine. But Roy booking a SIX WEEK trip without asking her, just assuming it would work out, which is pretty crazy.

Megan: It’s not exactly well thought out.

Natalie: He’s so rich that it makes him stupid. He thinks he’s got it covered, that she will work remotely in the set up stages. But she knows that will not work, and just turns the idea down.

Megan: I think it shows that he has never had that kind of job and probably doesn’t really have an idea how any of it works. Especially setting up something from scratch, it’s a lot more than just “emails and shit.”

Natalie: Given that she’s immediately excited, I wish she had been like “Look, can we just go for a week?” But maybe after her initial excitement was also like, “Oh actually even that I can’t do.”

Megan: That would have been a solid compromise. He’d feel less insecure and worried, and she’d get a bit of a break before getting the business set up.

Natalie: It’s so sad because Roy struggles to be happy and light, but he is almost bubbly here. He wants his tapas!

Megan: Yeah, he is genuinely so excited about this, and then when it comes crashing down his voice and her voice are both so shaky and broken. Kills me.

Natalie: It takes so much for her to turn him down. She is so anxious.

Megan: And she’s really trying to do that positive spin, and say that everything is going to be fine, that they’ll be fine. But you can see he doesn’t believe it. His little nod after she says they’ll be fine is just awful.

Natalie: The fact that he leaps to “Are we breaking up?” shows that there is something at the heart of what’s been going on that they just haven’t been looking at. It’s not a wild leap for him to say that. It feels very real. And yeah, the way she promises that they’ll be fine (Don’t you dare SETTLE for FINE…) made me 100% sure that we will start Ted Lasso season 3 with them having broken up. The promise on screen is the promise to the audience that they won’t. And again, Roy’s Sad Boy Theme Music.

Megan: God, it really does make me very sad. The foreshadowing from the end of last episode and throughout is brilliantly done, but it’s just sad.

Natalie: The moment he takes to steel himself after she leaves the room and before he growls at the pink leopard is just an extraordinary beat of how fragile he is. Brett Goldstein is great there. But it’s definitely at the point where I’m like — when I saw a few people discussing and they’re like “Of course they’ll be fine! and won’t break up!” — I’m like… “Honey… no.”

Megan: He pauses for a moment and his body language is so vulnerable and just sad. And then he looks at the leopard and growls and slips back into being Roy Kent. I do hope that they will still end up together by the end of Ted Lasso, but I think a break-up will happen first.

Natalie: Yeah, we will open on a break-up, I am sure of it. In my head I have wanted for 18 months now for Ted Lasso season 3 to reveal in the first episode that Roy did take that holiday with either Jamie or Beard. Because it would be funny as fuck. But realistically, he probably stayed at home and brooded.

Megan: They would result in two very different holidays, depending on whether he went with Jamie or Beard, but both would be comedy gold. However, you are right. I think he stayed home and moped.

Natalie: In happier news, three weeks after the Brentford match we see Sam closing on an empty shop front and telling the estate agent that he’s making a Nigerian restaurant. That’s a big job! And something inspired by the fact that Edwin faked one for him. One of the reasons I liked this aside from all the personal journey reasons is it was a reminder to the audience HOW rich these people are. I don’t even think the show truly gets into the level of money or relationship with money.

Megan: Yes! It’s not uncommon for footballers to have other businesses or work on the side. Often it’s charitable foundations, or coaching academies. Our fave Tyrone Mings has his interior design company, but I love the idea of Sam bringing that piece of Nigeria to England.

Natalie: But they are fucking RICH. Keeley would not be as wealthy by a fair margin and she’s still pretty rich. Roy is a hypocrite about money, and money does NOT equal class or respect from upper class rich people, and rich footballers are still peasants to certain British folk. But they are SO RICH.

Megan: Even a team like Richmond who was very middle of the road would pay their players a fortune. It is a stupid level of wealth, so buying a restaurant in London, even in South Kensington, is well within their means.

Natalie: I’m excited to see how it turns out for him, if this is his first major investment. And it’s so emotional and personal.

Megan: Yeah. We know from the trailer that there is at least one full team event happening at the restaurant. I cannot wait to see it in real life. I just want everything good for Sam, and that includes his restaurant being a success.

Natalie: I think it will be. And then finally we see Nate installed as the new manager of West Ham, coaching a team of players very rigidly in a way that’s meant to make Nate, the players, and the stadium all look very big and intimidating for little old Richmond. He has this army at his command. Do you remember if you were shocked by this?

Megan: I don’t think I was shocked. I also don’t think I had expected it, but then we saw him from behind and I just instantly thought. Oh yeah, of course. It just felt inevitable to me, even if up until that point I don’t think I had considered it.

Natalie: That’s probably the best way of putting it. We’ve made a lot of comments and predictions so far just in our general chat alluding to how things will go for him next season, but this doesn’t exactly give a great impression that he will be finding his own way as a decent coach. He certainly has players under control. But I am so curious about how they feel about him, honestly.

Megan: Same, I can’t imagine they’re in for a pleasant time. And his behaviour and attitude aside I wonder how they’ll feel about his career trajectory. Not all Premier League football managers are former players, but a lot of them are. So I wonder if they’ll be dubious about Nate’s skills given he hasn’t exactly come into this the usual route.

Natalie: I’m not sure we’ll see the emotional trajectory of a sympathetic West Ham player, but is it weird I kind of want to?

Megan: I was actually just thinking the same thing. I don’t really want that many new characters in season 3, because I want as much time as possible with all my existing loves. But at the same time I would like to have recurring scenes with one West Ham player who is interacting with Nate. Not least because otherwise all the West Ham scenes will just be him and Rupert being all awful together.

Natalie: Ugh, so much more Rupert. I assume in the long run Nate will dislike him too. He has to, if Ted Lasso wants us to believe that Nate has a soul and any individual morals, but… ugh! It also made me laugh that they’re showing training on the PITCH AT LONDON STADIUM. Not a training ground. I get why they did it, they want it to look imposing. But given Nate’s entrance on the show, protecting the pitch from stray feet with a level of unnecessary aggression. It has to be stated that teams do not train on the stadium grass because it is very expensive to maintain. Matches only. But here we are.

Megan: Yes! So so funny.

Natalie: We close on a mirror shot of Nate to the season 2 opening, just a close-up of his face demonstrating his emotions, and that’s how season 1 started and ended with Rebecca. They’ve promised that Ted Lasso season 3 will track a third journey that much more closely than before, and they will tell you who that is by doing the same structure. That opening shot. Over the past 18 months have you had thoughts about who that will be?

Megan: Well Rebecca and Nate both ended up being the villains of sorts of their season, so when thinking about this I did sometimes think it might be whoever is the season three villain, and possibly Rupert. But I kept rejecting that because I really didn’t think the show would want to spend that much time on him — much to my personal relief. Assuming that Ted Lasso will stick to its original three season complete story arc, I’ve always thought it will be Ted, and that the final shot will be him at an airport— either a London one, saying goodbye, or a Kansas one, once he’s back in America. I think the final planned season will have to have Ted be the person we follow most closely.

Natalie: Yeah, I think I agree. I didn’t think about the villain arc element, more the journey arc, and from that angle my only other real option was Roy— that Ted would remain the catalyst in the arcs of those other true lead characters. But the show is called Ted Lasso, and we’ve mostly kept his true journey to the side in favour of how he’s impacted others.

Megan: Yeah, Roy was another consideration, but I always came back to Ted.

Natalie: This time we will be having him figure himself out. If not once and for all, more closely than before. It wasn’t ever going to be like, Colin, or even Sam or Isaac, or Jamie.

Megan: Yeah I think Ted is finally, thankfully, ready to be a bit more honest with himself about himself, what he wants and also what he needs.

Natalie: My only real guesses were Roy or Ted and I think it’s Ted.

Megan: I might want it to be Jamie (I do.) But it was never a serious consideration. At least we won’t have long to wait to find out!

Natalie: No, the world will know the answer soon enough.

‘Ted Lasso’ returns to Apple TV+ on March 15. The first two seasons are streaming now.